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The Basic Idea:

Sautéing is a minimalist art when it comes to preparation, ingredients, and time. It’s a one-pan technique that gives tender cuts of meat and poultry a flavorful and crusty exterior with a juicy interior in a matter of minutes. And, when you remove the item from the pan, you’ve got the makings of a pan sauce to grace your presentation.

It’s fast and requires as much heat as you can master.

Sautéing and searing are similar because they use high heat. However, whereas sautéing is a complete process that yields a finished dish, searing is usually the first step in a process that requires the dish to be finished at a more moderate heat (e.g., oven-roasting, indirect grilling, etc.).

Sautéing is also different from frying, which uses more fat in the pan, bigger and thicker cuts, and longer cooking times.

For cuts thicker than 1/4-inch (except tournedos of beef), place between two sheets of parchment or wax paper and pound flat to a uniform thickness.


Save your favorite cast-iron pan for fried chicken.

When you are cooking with high heat and thin cuts, you need a pan that reacts quickly to sudden changes in heat. Aluminum, stainless steel, or copper are best.

A traditionally shaped frying or omelette pan with sloped sides can be used. However, a straight-sided sauté pan ensures you have the maximum cooking surface and allows you to shake the pan without the risk of splashing the contents over the sides.


Some fat—not much—is an important component of any sautéed dish’s flavor and texture. So the medium—oil or butter—that you choose has a great deal to do with the flavor and texture of your final result.

Grapeseed Oil is suited ideally for sautéed dishes primarily because of its high smoke point—the point at which heat breaks down an oil’s composition turning it bitter and vulnerable to burning in the pan. Also, this oil has a mild flavor that enhances and mingles, rather than competes, with your ingredients.

For comparison Grapeseed Oil has a smoke point of 485°F, while the smoke point of olive oil can range from 250°F to 350°F, depending on its quality grade and whether it’s refined or unrefined.

Olive oil can be used for sautéing. However, olive oil graded pure will have a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil.

Butter gives sautéed dishes and pan sauces wonderful flavor. However, the milk solids in butter will burn in the pan at considerably lower temperatures. Clarified butter is the best option because its smoke point is about 325°F to 375°F and still delivers buttery flavor.

You can clarify butter yourself (see sidebar), or you can find it in East Indian and Asian markets as ghee.


As a first step, some dishes require dredging your chosen cut in flour, seasoned flour alone, or in combination with egg wash (a beaten egg), bread, cracker or Japanese panko crumbs, and seasonsings

The coating serves multiple purposes:

  • Gives the meat or poultry a dry surface to meet the heat and adds flavor and texture by becoming a crunchy crust.
  • Seals in juiciness.
  • Some of the coating will come off during the sautéing process and mix with the fat in the pan, thereby serving as a thickener (roux) for making a pan sauce.

Glace and Demi-Glace

Glace are the syrupy result of reducing stock to about 10 percent of its original volume through long simmering. A demiglace is made up of equal parts of brown sauce (a.k.a. Sauce Espagnole), brown stock, caramelized mire poix, tomatoes, and sherry.

A glace contributes concentrated flavor without adding a large volume of liquid to pan sauces. Choose the type of glace or demi-glace to match what you are cooking.


Not too far removed from the Asian technique of stir-frying, sautéing is fast, so it’s a good idea to do all your preparation and assemble all of your ingredients before you begin cooking or, as the French say, mis en place.

Be sure your pan is big enough to hold everything you plan to sauté in one layer. Otherwise, plan to sauté in batches. Crowding causes your sauté items to retain moisture in the pan—they’ll steam and become soggy, rather than crisp and juicy.

Step 1: Preheat your pan to medium-high to high heat. Step 2: Season and/or coat your sauté selection. Step 3: Add fat to the pan, swirl when heated and carefully place your sauté item in the pan right after you see the first wisps of smoke. Step 4: Brown on both sides, remove to a plate and cover. Step 5: Remove most of the fat—a couple tablespoons should do—and return to the heat. Step 6: Briefly sauté aromatics (shallots, onion, garlic, etc.). Step 7: Add liquid (stock, wine, etc.) and reduce until thick, or add glace. Step 8: (Optional) Add a touch of cream and/or butter to thicken, bind, and finish the sauce.

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Tasting food that you have cooked makes me consider trying new foods and makes me in the mood to cook.

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you know I always thought I could cook...not extravagantly but decently .... Steve I have got to start picking your brain.....you have excellent taste my friend!!!!!!!

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I am sitting here at my computer and now I have to find something to eat after reading that.:icon_thumright: :icon_thumright: :icon_thumright: :icon_thumright: Gonna have to try doing some fish.

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