Cooking Technique: Sauté

Tue, Feb 16, 2010

Cooking, Techniques

Cooking Technique: Sauté

Of all the cooking techniques out there, one of  the most useful things that can be learned in the kitchen is how to sauté. This kitchen technique is used frequently with many recipes as well as when you  want to get something cooked quickly and healthily. This method of cooking is a great way to keep more nutrients and flavor, not to mention more vibrant color.

Sauté means “to jump” in French, referring to the way food is moved around the pan.  When sautéing food you will want a little fat (oil, butter, etc) in the pan to start off with and a high heat, usually medium high to high.  The size of the food used in sautéing needs to be cut so that it is thin enough to cook quickly. This usually means tender and  small enough that each ingredient can be cooked together, not one at a time or starting with the longest cooking ingredient and moving to the quickest cooking as in a stir-fry.

When sautéing meat such as beef, pork, poultry, and fish  they need to be sliced, butterflied or pounded out so that they can  cook evenly and quickly with whatever is going in the pan with them.  If using ingredients that take a longer time to cook such as carrots or broccoli, then these should be par cooked (tossing into boiling water for a few minutes to tenderize the food is a great way to do this).

As for the actual technique of sautéing you can do it a couple of ways. The easiest way is to heat the pan over high heat, then add a very little bit of fat, and a spatula to move the food around to have it cook quickly and evenly while keeping it from sticking to the pan.

The second, more fancy and elaborate method, is to actually toss the food around with a flick of the wrist. This is done by griping the handle of the pan firmly and  quickly tilting down and out, then pulling up and back. With practice this becomes fairly easy to do. The first time you do this tossing technique properly, without getting the food you’re cooking all over the kitchen, will feel great even if it’s just a little jump!

Photo by owlpacino.

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This post was written by:

Rochelle - who has written 79 posts on Made in Kitchen Blog.

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One Response to “Cooking Technique: Sauté”

  1. Bonnie Says:

    I did not know how to flip food in a pan. Now I do. Thank you for the video.

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