Sautéing is a form of pan frying: vegetables, meat or fish are briefly fried over high heat with little fat, stirring constantly. We reveal how to do it and which pan and oils are best for sautéing.
What is sautéing?
Sauté (pronounced: soot) is a word from the kitchen jargon (French “sauter” = jump) and a special kind of pan frying.
Definition of sautéing: sautéing is a cooking method. Meat, fish or vegetables are briefly fried in a little fat over high heat while constantly stirring and turning . Incidentally, quick cooking in a wok is nothing more than sautéing.
What is suitable for sautéing? Tender leafy vegetables such as spinach, crunchy vegetables such as asparagus, mushrooms and snow peas are suitable for sautéing , as are tuber vegetables such as carrots or potatoes. However, these should be pre-cooked and possibly chopped (julienne, cubes). Firm-fleshed fish and seafood are also easy to sauté(make sure they are fresh). It is better to fry tender types, as they will fall apart if you stir and turn them constantly. Sliced meat, poultry or game can also be sautéed.
Benefits of sautéing
In contrast to “frying”, sautéing has the advantage that you need less fat (saves calories). Thanks to the constant movement, nothing burns and everything cooks evenly.
“Steaming” is healthier, but sautéed asparagus & co simply taste better. On the one hand, because you work with fat (flavor carrier) and on the other hand, because delicious roasted aromas are created.
Sautéing: the right pan
It’s important to be able to toss and stir the ingredients well while sautéing. It is best to use a pan with a handle and a high edge or a wok pan for this .
Professionals have what is known as a “sauteuse”, also known as a pan. This is a saucepan with walls that curve slightly outwards.
Sautéing in a pan – step by step
For the perfectly sautéed vegetables and meat, we have developed a step-by-step guide for you:
Preparations for sautéing
Preparation is just as important when sautéing vegetables and meat as the sauté itself.
What you should prepare:
- Wash vegetables, peel or clean if necessary.
- Wash meat, poultry or fish and pat dry.
- Cut the meat and vegetables into bite-sized pieces that are as even as possible. Cut the meat across the grain so it doesn’t become tough.
- Have suitable oil (e.g. rapeseed, sunflower or grapeseed oil) ready.
Tip: Blanch firm vegetables (carrots, turnips, kohlrabi, potatoes, broccoli) if necessary.
The right fat for sautéing
Oils that can be heated well are perfect. These include e.g.:
- rapeseed oil
- sunflower oil
- grapeseed oil
- peanut oil
- corn kernels
If you use olive oil, you have to make sure that it doesn’t get too hot. It has a lower smoke point than the other oils and therefore burns faster.
Also suitable for sautéing are:
- clarified butter
- rendered animal fats
Sauté fish, meat & vegetables – step by step
- Heat the pan on the stove.
- Add enough fat to just cover the bottom.
- As soon as the fat is hot, add vegetables, meat or fish. The pan should not be too full. Note the cooking times for different types of vegetables and add them one after the other if necessary.
- Fry everything while constantly stirring and turning so that everything cooks evenly.
- Salt ingredients.
- As soon as the desired browning has been achieved, the vegetables are al dente or the fish or meat is cooked, season everything and serve.
Pan like a pro
It takes some practice to toss the ingredients in the pan like a pro instead of stirring. That’s how it works:
- Hold the pan firmly by the end of the handle and lift it off the stove.
- Using your wrist, first swivel the food down to the back edge of the pan.
- Then pull the pan up and back towards your body with a short swing.
- Rinse the spinach, sort and pat dry. This is important to prevent fat from splattering out of the pan as you sauté.
- Crush 1 clove of garlic with the back of a wide knife.
- Heat some butter or rapeseed oil in the pan with the garlic.
- Add the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until the leaves have wilted.
- Salt, pepper and serve immediately.