Smokey Red Salsa

Next up for the MN taco feeding, a simple red salsa.

2 dried guljillo chilies1 dried smoked jalapeno chili (chipotle)
1 t. cumin seeds
2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes, 14 1/2 oz. each
2 oz. olive oil
6 oz. white onions, minced
1 bunch cilantro, washed and coarsely chopped


Tear the stems off of the dried chilies, then tear them into pieces and place in a small pan.


Cook over medium heat, tossing regularly, until the seeds darken and the chili aroma is pronounced. Transfer to  the canister of a blender.


Add the cumin seeds to the same hot pan, and toast, tossing, until they become very fragrant. Add to the blender along with the contents of the two cans of tomato.


Process on high speed until the mixture becomes uniform.


Heat the olive oil in a suitable pot over high heat. When the oil shimmers, but before it smokes, add the tomato mixture, and bring to a boil.


Cook until slightly thickened, about five minutes, stirring regularly to prevent sticking, then transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.


Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add minced white onions and cilantro. Stir to combine. Store refrigerated.


The next day, the natural pectin in the tomatoes will thickened the salsa. Thin with water to desired consistency.


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David Gingrass is a food and beverage operations professional with a career spanning more than three decades. His fascination with and love for food, wine and entertaining allows him to view his work as both a vocation and an avocation. Gingrass graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York then cooked in the Bay Area for two years before landing a job at Wolfgang Puck’s original Spago Restaurant in West Hollywood. There he learned to make the signature breads and sausages that he became known for at Postrio and Hawthorne Lane. He was soon promoted to kitchen manager and managed the operational and expense control aspects of Puck’s iconic restaurant for the next four years. Gingrass returned to San Francisco in 1989 when Puck tapped him and his then-wife Anne to open Postrio, Puck’s third restaurant and his first outside of Los Angeles. Postrio opened to rave reviews and soon became the #1 popular Bay Area restaurant in the prestigious Zagat survey. Five and a half years later, the opportunity to open a restaurant of his own presented itself. Hawthorne Lane opened in 1995 and was a San Francisco dining institution for over twelve years, catering to the likes of Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Mayor Willie Brown, James Carville, President Clinton and First Lady Hilary Clinton. He closed Hawthorne Lane at the end of its fifteen-year lease in 2009 to build a consulting practice for the hospitality industry, sharing his wealth of culinary and operational experiences with new and existing restaurants, assisting them to become successful and profitable.