To sauté is to cook something fairly quickly, in a skillet or sauté pan, using a small amount of fat and turning/tossing frequently. Sauté tips:
- Select the proper pan. This should be a a skillet or a sauté pan which is wide enough to hold the ingredients without crowding (often you don’t want the ingredients to even touch, for example fish fillets or pieces of meat or chicken.) It should have a thick bottom so that the heat distributes evenly.
- Preheat the pan. This means before the fat or ingredient is added. The exact temperature will depend on your stove (gas/electric? small/large?) but you want the pan to be hot, not smoking.
- Assemble the ingredients. When the pan is hot, your ready to start. Have your fat ready, as well as the ingredient you are to sauté. Have a spatula handy, as well as a container for the food.
- Add the fat (butter, olive oil or other). Remember, the idea is to brown/cook in a small amount of fat, so just enough to coat the bottom – it it becomes too dry you can add a little more, best to start with not too much.
- Add the food. Place food in pan, do not overcrowd (it’s better to do several batches, otherwise the food will end up steaming and it will not brown).
- Turn/toss as needed. You need not move the food constantly, give it time to brown. However you do want to move it occasionally to ensure that it all browns/cooks/and develops a nice flavor.