Image by Michael Tan, Art direction by Jason Tan
There’s a newcomer to the seafood throne. Having lingered in the culinary shadows of the lobster and crab, the octopus finally comes to the fore at My Little Spanish Place. Here, executive chef Edward Esmero – a self-professed gym junkie – swears by simple preparations that retain the natural qualities of healthful ingredients. His grilled octopus flaunts his philosophy.
The affable Philippines-born chef takes a leg of fresh octopus, softens it with a mallet, simmers it in water with bay leaves, garlic and paprika for 45 minutes, and proceeds to sear the tentacles on a cast-iron griddle before they are ready to be savoured. Available on request is an addition of roasted vegetables, such as purple carrots, as a wholesome complement.
Octopus contains taurine. According to a study in the journal Amino Acids, this compound may help stave off oxidative stress triggered by a bout of exercise. In other words, eating this sea creature can help you avoid the flu-like symptoms common after a strenuous workout. Taurine may also help protect against congestive heart failure, a Japanese study suggests.
This multi-limbed wonder should also be the choice meat for any bodybuilder. It boasts a protein-to-weight ratio on par with chicken breast (30g per 100g), which places it above that of fellow sea dwellers salmon (22g), lobster (21g) and squid (18g). Top it off with smoky, briny and sweet flavours that come alive in the mouth, and this dish delivers serious muscle in more ways than one.
PER SERVING (100G)
My Little Spanish Place
619 BUKIT TIMAH ROAD, TEL: 6463-2810, WWW.MYLITTLESPANISHPLACE.COM.SG
Words by Kyle Leung