Canadian Pizza Magazine

Recipe: Red Ember Crete-Za

By Steffen Zinn owner Red Ember Common and Red Ember Pizza Truck   

Features In the Kitchen Recipes canadian pizza recipe red ember red ember common red ember pizza steffen zinn

Red Ember Crete-Za

Red Ember Crete-Za Photo courtesy Steffen Zinn

This recipe was inspired by the fresh dill at Wenkai Vegetable Stand at the St. Norbert Farmers Market near Winnipeg where Red Ember Common owner Steffen Zinn shops for vegetables for the specials on the food truck.

He thought to make a pesto with it and topped it off with spinach, red onion, and goat cheese to give it a Mediterranean feel, it was called The Crete-Za. One of the chefs, Quin, has since taken the original idea and pickled the red onion to make the version that is now available at the Red Ember Common at The Forks.
This Mediterranean-inspired pizza will bring out the fresh earthy flavours of dill and spinach balanced with a sour/sweet pickled onion, Zinn explains.


Dill pesto

  • 400 g fresh dill (small stems)
  • 30 g parsley (blanched)
  • 40 g Walnuts toasted
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 lemon zest and juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 20 g Parmesan grated
  • 190 ml olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp salt

Charred pickled onion

  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 60 ml sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes

Additional ingredients

  • Roast garlic
  • Fresh spinach
  • Semi-soft shredded goat cheese
  • Shredded mozzarella


  1. To make the dill pesto, add the cooled toasted walnuts to your food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add all remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.
  2. To make charred pickled onion, preheat oven to 500 F. Dice onions into 5 mm pieces. Place onions onto a cookie sheet and char in oven until edges of onions are black. Combine the remaining ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, then remove from heat. When the onions have charred tips, place into a heat-proof bowl and strain pickling liquid on top.
  3. To assemble the pizza, begin by placing your pizza stone in the oven and preheat to its maximum temperature.
  4. While the pizza stone is preheating, prepare your favourite thin-crust pizza dough. Lightly flour a thin wooden cutting broad or backside of a cookie sheet. Stretch/roll out your dough until you have a 1/8-inch-thick crust.
  5. Spread the dill pesto on like a sauce. Sprinkle roast garlic, shredded goat cheese, spinach (a good, fluffy 3-4 inches) and top with a little shredded mozzarella.
  6. Bake until your crust is golden brown and remove from the oven. Top with a sprinkle of pickled red onion and serve immediately.

Steffen Zinn, a Red Seal chef specializing in French and Japanese cuisine. However, is owner and chef at the Red Ember Common at The Forks and Red Ember Food Truck in Winnipeg. Born on a chicken farm in Starbuck, Man., Zinn enjoyed spending time cooking with his mom, trained as a chef in Anola and went on to work at St. Charles Country Club, where he started as an apprentice, and left as an executive sous chef. Years later, while working at Pine Ridge Golf Club, he built his own smoker and made plans to build a wood-fired pizza oven in his backyard. At the same time, he was dreaming of taking his kitchen on the road in his own food truck. When the two ideas met, Red Ember Pizza Truck was born. Steffen is passionate about using local, real ingredients and cooking everything from scratch. He thinks of the crust as a plate for non-traditional local toppings and sauces, making his pizzas uniquely Manitoban. He is also on a mission to help other chefs start their career in the kitchen, partnering with his driven, long-term employees to start ventures of their own.

Print this page


Stories continue below