Sautéing is a form of cooking food by which you use a pan with some sort of fat product to cook the product. The food is cooked relatively quickly, resulting in food that retains its flavor well, as well as picking up the taste of the fat, and gaining flavor through browning.
Here are a couple of tips for sautéing food.
- Instead of using oil or butter, try both! I often sauté food in both butter and oil, using half and half. This creates a great flavor, and a balanced browning.
- Watch the heat! Don't put the heat too high. You need a medium-high heat to sauté food properly, but the type of stove, the type of food, and the type of pan can all play into the situation. Keep an eye on the flame, and watch how quickly your food is cooking. If you fear burning (of the fat or the food products), don't be afraid to reduce the heat to your liking.
- Use a large, heavy, shallow, flat-bottomed pan if available. This will allow you to cook the food evenly, without burning.
- Coat the pan in oil, but don't put too much... You aren't deep frying anything here. Don't use more fat than you need.
- Toss or stir the food around quickly and fairly often, too cook evenly without burning. However, don't overdo it! If you keep the food off the heat too much, the pan will cool, or the food will not have enough contact with the heat to cook properly.
- When possible, cut food into smaller pieces, to facilitate rapid, uniform cooking.
- Don't put too much! In order to evenly cook the food very quickly, you have to be able to fit all of the food into the pan without stacking it. If you have food on top of food, or you have too much to toss around in the pan, you probably have too much.