Apple Pecan Salsa with African Blue Basil

I found the recipe for Apple Pecan Salsa with African Blue Basil in Didi Emmon's cookbook Wild Flavors.  I had never heard of African blue basil before but managed to track down a plant and have been growing it in my garden in Maine ever since.  The bees love it. If you don't have any, substitute regular basil or any favorite herb from your garden. Since all basils are tender and damaged by fall frosts, early fall apples are suggested for this recipe, but other firm, tart varieties will work as well.


  • 1 1/3 cups African basil leaves, chopped

  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped and toasted

  • 1 crisp apple (such as Zestar or Gravenstein), diced

  • 1/2 red onion – minced

  • 2 Tbs lemon juice

  • 1 Tbs olive oil

  • salt and fresh black pepper to taste

  • 1 tsp honey- or more to taste (optional if your apple is tart)

  • 1 small hot pepper – minced (optional)


Combine all ingredients, and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you use a tart apple, such as the Gravenstein, you may want to add a tsp or more of honey to offset the tartness. For those who like their food spicy, a bit of hot pepper can liven up the salsa. Serve with game, chicken or pork, rice or other grains. Add it to a salad. Didi suggests omitting the nuts if you serve with fish. The salsa is best when made right before serving, although if you keep it in the refrigerator, it will stay crispy for several days.