Who could ever resist trying a recipe with such a great name (which is a translation of the Italian, pesce all’acqua pazza). What is truly crazy is how simple it is to make an intensely flavored, water-based poaching liquid for fish fillets. Marcella Hazan was introduced to the dish by her friend from Amalfi, Pierino Jovine, and her first reaction was, “Who wants to eat fish in water?” As it turns out, water is the magic liquid that reveals and melds all the flavors.
It’s the deep, intense flavor of lamb that sets this sauce apart from other classic meat sauces. So does the fact that the meat is not ground, but cut into small pieces and cooked as you would a stew. This recipe calls for lamb shoulder, but you can use another cut as long as it’s not too lean.
This tangy, buttery salmoriglio sauce—a Sicilian classic—is spectacularly delicious with many kinds of fish, not just those specified here; it's always best to simply trust your eyes and nose and buy what's freshest at the fish market. The baking and grilling times below are approximate; the variety and thickness of the fillets will determine how long to cook the fish.