Provencal RecipesSide DishStephanie VillegasTaste

Purple Artichokes with Lemon and Capers a Delicious Side Dish

Artichokes are a harbinger of the warmer months ahead. It’s common to find purple artichoke – les petit violets in Provencal markets. These smaller artichokes are a purple globe variety, with a nuttier flavour than the larger green globe version. Since culinary historians believe that Catherine de Medici introduced the artichoke to French cuisine, I added some Italian flavours to this dish with garlic aïoli, parmesan, lemon and capers.

Purple Artichokes with Lemon and Capers a Delicious Side Dish

Seared Violet Artichokes with Aïoli, Lemon, Capers & Parmesan

Stephanie Villegas
These small artichokes are a delicious side dish.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine French, Provencal
Servings 6 people


  • 6 small Purple Artichokes
  • Olive Oil extra virgin
  • Salt
  • Pepper freshly ground
  • 2 lemons
  • Lemon Zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp Flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers drained and lightly fried in oil
  • Parmesan cheese shaved with a flat peeler (about 20 shavings)


  • Clean the artichokes and carefully remove the tough outer leaves.
  • In a medium stock pot, bring 6 cups water and 1 cut lemon (rough wedges are fine) to a boil.
  • Using a peeler, peel the stem and shape the outside of the heart.
  • Cut the artichoke in half, from tip to stem, exposing the thistle but not removing it.
  • Use half of a cut lemon to coat the artichokes at every step to prevent oxidation (this happens almost instantly).
  • Boil the artichokes in boiling water with the lemons for 10 to 15 minutes. Use a paring knife in the thickest part of the heart to check doneness. (You’ll want to feel that the knife enters and exits very easily.)
  • Carefully remove the artichokes from the pot, let them drain and cool, and cut the side down on a paper towel.
  • Once cool enough to handle, use a small spoon to remove the thistle from each artichoke half carefully. They should come out easily now that they’re fully cooked.
  • Once cleaned, the artichokes can be kept covered in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  • When ready to serve, turn the artichokes cut side up, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Brown artichokes under the grill/broiler, on a hot barbecue or in a hot skillet.
  • Once browned and warmed through, remove them from the heat and plate them cut-side up.
  • Season them with fresh lemon juice and top with plenty of garlic aioli, Parmesan shavings, capers, and parsley.
Keyword Artichokes, Capers, Side Dish
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Stephanie Villegas

Born in San Francisco, California, Stephanie Villegas is a chef working and living in Provence. After a decade-long career in tech, Stephanie decided to follow her culinary passions and become a chef. She earned her culinary diploma at France's esteemed Ferrandi Paris and has worked in renowned restaurant kitchens from Paris to Provence. In 2022, she opened Laurel, a cooking school and private chef service located in the charming provençal village of Fontvieille.

With a mission to bring people closer together through food, her focus is on freshness and seasonality. As a Mexican-American, married to a Frenchman, living in Provence, you can be sure to find inspirations from around the world in her dishes.

On her table, you'll find ingredients you know, discover new ones and enjoy generous dishes of refined simplicity.

Explore Laurel here.

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