Grilled Apricot Shrimp with Harissa Aioli

Last week, my husband and I discovered a great local restaurant where I had probably the best shrimp dish I have ever eaten! A friend of mine had recommended this restaurant called Wildwood Kitchen in Bethesda and since it was not in downtown Bethesda (where all the best restaurants usually locate themselves) I went with absolutely no expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the food and the service were! I usually read up the local magazines and reviews of restaurants and even if I haven’t managed to eat there, most often I do know which are good local restaurants or chefs. I guess, this one must have completely skipped my radar screen. Judging by the crowd there and also the long reservation list, it seems like others in the neighborhood must already know how good this place is! We absolutely loved the delicious grilled shrimp with Harissa Aioli for an appetizer. So today I tried to replicate the dish at home. I have to say that it didn’t come out exactly the same, but it came very close. I had to make my aioli with jarred mayonnaise because I am not sure if the eggs I got from the supermarket are fresh enough to be eaten in their raw form – and that made the aioli taste a bit more tart than the one served in the restaurant but the rest was about the same.


1. 1 lb large de-veined and peeled shrimp (16-18)
2. 3 tablespoons of Apricot chutney (or use apricot jam)
3. 4 teaspoons of Harissa powder (2 for the marinade and 2 for the aioli)
4. Salt and pepper to taste
5. One lemon/lime
6. 2 tablespoons of Sriracha (one for the marinade and one for the aioli)
7. 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (one for the marinade and one for the aioli)
8. 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
9. 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
10. 1 teaspoon of honey



1. Prepare the marinade by combining the following: the Apricot Chutney, 2 teaspoons of Harissa powder, salt and pepper, juice of half a lime, 1 tablespoon of Sriracha and I tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Stir everything together.
2. Wash and dry the shrimp (using a kitchen paper towel).

3. Place the cleaned shrimp in a large bowl and pour the marinade over them. Mix everything together and then cover the bowl with some plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 6-12 hours.

4. To make the Aioli, combine the following ingredients: mayonnaise, juice of ½ a lime, 1 teaspoon harissa powder, honey and Dijon mustard.

5. Add the honey and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and a tablespoon of Sriracha ((or less if you don’t like it too hot). Mix everything together thoroughly.

6. Grill the shrimp over a charcoal or gas grill – about 5 minutes on one side and about 3-4 minutes on the other side. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp – or they get hard and rubbery.

7. Serve the grilled shrimp with the aioli on the side. They would make a great appetizer or serve as a main course.


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