Sautéing – Interesting Facts

The sautéing cooking method involves quickly frying food that has been chopped into small pieces or strips. The term comes from the French word “sauté” which literally means to bounce or jump. This makes more sense once you see the process itself - the vegetables are constantly tossed in the pan. This movement ensures that the food is quickly cooked on all sides

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For best results, use a special sauté pan – most of which are made from cast iron to retain the heat, and have high edges to prevent food from falling out when sautéing. The pan’s thick bottom has good heat conducting properties. In case you don’t have a sauté pan, a wok can easily replace it. 

Sautéing – Less is More

First, chop the food into small pieces. Then heat up some vegetable oil or clarified butter – keep in mind the smoke point of each oil when choosing. Once heated, add the vegetables, meat or whatever you wish to sauté. Do not overcrowd the pan and make sure each item is touching the bottom of it. If the pan is too full, the process will take longer and the tossing will be more difficult.

Sautéing – The Technique

The secret behind sautéing lies in the consistent tossing of the food. For this, simply hold the pan firmly and thrust the food towards the far edge of the pan away from you. Just as the food is beginning to lift up out of the pan, with a short and sharp move towards your body, flip the food back to the centre of the pan. With this technique, all sides of the food should hit the surface of the pan at some point. Afterwards, you can season the food as desired. 

Sautéing – Fresh Food

Not all food is suited to sautéing. With minced meat for example, it is advisable to cook the meat thoroughly in order to kill any bacteria such as salmonella. Generally speaking, only fresh food should be sautéed. Aside from turkey and chicken, game meats are also very well suited to this cooking method. Game is easy to sauté and only takes a short amount of time. Chanterelles and other mushrooms are also delicious cooked this way. 

Sautéing – Binding Foods

Aside from its quick frying purposes, the technique also lends itself well to binding – whether it is meat, pasta or vegetables being tossed in cream, butter or a sauce. Through this technique, the different foods combine to make a tasty combination.

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