Thinly sliced Meyer lemon adds a tang and soft bite to these smoky spiced shrimp. Smoked paprika heightens the shrimp’s natural flavor, while grilling in the shell protects and concentrates that flavor as it almost steams.
Why shell on? The shrimp retain more moisture when cooked in the shell. If you are serving the shrimp to people who love food, they will thank you and enjoy the messy dinner. If you are serving the skewers to people who mind making a mess when they eat or who are in a place where eating with hands isn’t acceptable, peel the shrimp before skewering it.
To serve, drizzle the skewers with extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of parsley or dip them in the Meyer Lemon & Anchovy-Laced Aioli (see the recipe at the end of this post).
1 pound shell-on, deveined wild shrimp
1-2 Meyer lemons, sliced thinly (deseeded)
1 teaspoon Pimenton de La Vera (smoky paprika, bittersweet)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 rosemary stems or wooden skewer sticks (if dry, soak in water for 10 minutes before skewering)
1. Wash, dry, and place the shrimp in a bowl with the olive oil, thyme, garlic, and paprika. Let marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
2. Slice the lemon and set aside.
3. Rinse the rosemary stems and set aside.
4. Prepare the grill (get it medium hot)
5. Begin to build the skewers: pull the shrimp through the skewers so that the head and tail are bound, fold a Meyer lemon slice in half and skewer it, then repeat with another shrimp, lemon slice, and shrimp (you should have three shrimp and two lemon slices on each skewer).
6. Run a lightly oiled rag over the grill grates.
7. Season the shrimp with salt and place the skewers on the grill.
8. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side.
9. When the shrimp is just cooked through, pull the skewers from the grill, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of parsley, or dip the shrimp in a Meyer Lemon & Anchovy-Laced Aioli and serve.
Meyer Lemon & Anchovy-Laced Aioli
Yields just over ¾ of a cup
Along with pesto and salsa, aioli stands as the part of the trinity of adaptable grill sauces. Once you get the hang of making aioli, variations from the base sauce are endless and allow for a pulse of creativity in response to any seasonal ingredient. The smooth texture and sublime flavors of aioli can be tweaked with the sweet fragrant acid of Meyer lemon and complex flavor profile of a hint of cured anchovies. While the anchovy adds depth and savor to the sauce, you can leave it out if you prefer.
While I developed this sauce to compliment the Grilled Lemon, Serrano, and Oregano Spiced Polpettine recipe, it can be paired with a variety of grilled fish or poultry dishes. Try this aioli over grilled wild salmon, scallops, chicken breast or thigh, squab, or even quail.
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon anchovy paste
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt, to taste
crack of black pepper
1. Place the egg yolk, Meyer lemon juice, minced garlic clove, crack of black pepper, and a pinch of salt in a food processor.
2. Briefly blend the ingredients until they form an emulsion, and then slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil with the processor on. Start by adding the oil drop by drop as the processor blade turns. Once 40% of the oil is emulsified, you can speed up the rate at which you add the oil, but don’t go too fast or the mixture will break.
3. When all of the oil is emulsified, check the mixture for salt and acidity. Add salt as necessary. If you need more acidity, just add another splash of lemon juice.
4. Add the anchovy paste and mix it into the aioli.
5. Set the sauce aside. You can prepare the sauce a day ahead of time—if you do prepare it ahead of time, store it in the refrigerator and take it out about 30 minutes before serving to bring it up to room temperature. Do not let it sit out of the refrigerator for more than an hour.