For 81 years, Uglesich’s Seafood Restaurant was a New Orleans institution; one of their famous dishes included a so-called “muddy waters” sauce served over fish. They’ve been closed for over a decade now, but the Big Easy’s Jack Rose restaurant (located in the Pontchartrain Hotel) serves this delicious shrimp dish in homage. The shrimp shells are simmered for a rich stock, which forms the base of the sauce along with tomatoes, white wine, and lots of butter, plus oregano, garlic, and red chile flakes for extra kick. At the restaurant, they serve this with squid ink campanelle, but it’s great over any kind of pasta—or grits, polenta, or rice.
Note: Royal Red Shrimp are a highly prized Gulf Coast variety with a rich, sweet, oceanic taste often likened to lobster or bay scallops. If you can find them, use them, but if not, buy the best, freshest shrimp you can get; the sauce will still taste fantastic. But be sure to buy shrimp in the shell, since you need them for the stock. If you’re cooking Royal Reds for the first time, be aware that they have a naturally pinkish color, so it can be harder to tell when they’re done—be careful not to overcook them!
Photograph by Randy Schmidt.