A trip to the market to make a tomato salad recently led Gothamist to a variety of basil that we'd never seen before. Whole Foods is currently carrying African Blue Basil, a hybrid of an East African basil and a typical garden basil called Dark Opal. The package of African Blue Basil comes with basil leaves, stems and lavender colored flower buds in full bloom. Gothamist used both the basil leaves and the flower buds in a tomato salad with excellent results. The basil leaves and purple flowers have a licorice and pepper flavor, reminding us a bit of tarragon.
African Blue Basil is currently at Union Square Whole Foods for about $2 a pack.