Make Emiko Davies' fisherman's acquacotta

The classic Tuscan dish gets a revamp, elevating it far beyond its humble beginnings as a fisherman's staple

Tuscan fisherman's acquacotta

Serves 4

Preparation time 30 mins

Cooking time 60 mins

The namesake of Emiko Davies' excellent book, acquacotta, is a true peasant dish. Traditionally made with the bits of fish that don't make it to market, this is a modern take using clams, mussels and prawns.


  • 500g purged clams and mussels
  • 4 large mazzancolle prawns
  • 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, finely sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • 1 small red chilli, chopped (optional)
  • 700g tomato passata
  • 4 thick slices of stale Tuscan bread (or crusty white loaf)
  • 1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  1. Scrub the mussels and pull out the beards. You can either keep the prawns whole or chop.
  2. Pour the olive oil in a large casserole pot and warm over gentle heat. Cook the onion and celery, along with a pinch of salt, until very soft.
  3. Add one garlic clove and the chilli, cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato and 500ml of water. Season with salt and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for about 40 minutes, topping up with water if it's too thick.
  4. Prepare the bread – stale bread is best as it doesn’t become soggy. Rub the bread with the remaining garlic.
  5. Add the prawns, mussels and clams to the simmering liquid. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the shells have opened and the prawns are just cooked.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir through the parsley. Place the stale bread in the bottom of the serving bowls and spoon the acquacotta evenly over the top.