Smokin' Impressive

When it comes to entertaining,

we all want to impress and to most of us impressive is equivalent to fussing and over fussing! We tend to think that impressive means the use of lavish ingredients, the sounds of which suggest we had spent every last penny to prepare! But my interactions with Chef Russell Impiazzi, the Culinary Director of Lafayette Gourmet, had taught me something very valuable: Even a piece of tomato can transform into an amazing dish that really looks too good to eat and will impress even the pickiest of guests. I had watched him, on many occasions, transform such simple ingredients as tomatoes, beetroots, smoked salmon…etc. into gorgeous dishes that are superbly delicious. After all it is all in the way we view these ingredients and how we present them in a way that highlights their natural beauty. This is ever so true especially when using outstanding produce to begin with. If the produce and the ingredients taste good, you really do not need to do much else with them, except perhaps be creative with presentation.

I had gone to film Russell with no idea what he had in mind for the recipe. As ever, his ingredients looked gorgeous all freshly pulled out of Lafayette Gourmet’s shelves that are packed with such fab food. These ingredients alone looked impressive enough to serve. All along I was watching, as always impressed with his talent, and especially as the plate started taking shape. Yes, smoked salmon with avocado relish may sound very simple, perhaps not as impressive as a ‘truffled marron glace’ would sound, however, what plate of food would ever end up looking like the one he’s prepared here? Then if that was not enough the finale was just so good, that I can’t wait for you to see what smokin’ impressive entertaining is like 🙂

So let’s get right to it, watch Russell as he creates this beautiful summery appetiser and check out the surprise at the end 🙂

 I have also included, at the end of this post, some links for ‘entertaining and occasions recipes’ for you to try too…


80g Smoked salmon (Chef recommends Al fumo smoked salmon)

For Avocado relish

  • 1 whole avocado, finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • Juice of ½ unwaxed lemon
  • Zest of Kaffir lime
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt, season to taste

For Avocado Relish

Combine all the ingredients together to form a fresh zesty avocado relish and chill before using.

For Baguette chips

Arrange the baguette chips on baking tray, drizzle the olive oil over the top and season with the salt and pepper. Bake at 180 for approximately 10 minutes until golden and crisp.

To plate
Roll the smoked salmon up into small cylinders and arrange on the plate. With two spoons, attempt to ‘quenelle’ the avocado relish, if using 3 smoked salmon rolls, use 3 small quenelles of smoked salmon.Arrange the baguette chips on the avocado relish.Place the crème fraiche in a squeeze bottle or piping bag with the smallest nozzle and dot the crème around the plate. Otherwise use pureed avocado instead.

Garnish with mixed baby cress and edible flowers.

On this link, watch Chef Russell as he creates 5 different experiences using the recipe above! Remember when it comes to impressive entertaining it is all about creating unique and unforgettable experiences.

Chef Russell Impiazzi

Is the Culinary Director, Galleries Lafayette, Lafayette gourmet, Dubai.

Having started working in kitchens at the age of 14, it’s been a lifelong passion for food and the industry with over twenty years experience as a chef.

Russell’s career allowed him to travel extensively from New York, South Africa, South America, Indonesia, India, Europe, Caribbean and the Middle East. Finally landing him in Dubai, which he calls home!

Over the years Russell had opened more than 20 award winning restaurants, an experience which he describes as:

“I had met some fantastic people and experienced some amazing food all of which continue to inspire me….” 

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