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Basic Sautéing Techniques     


Sautéing with oil
Cooking with a small quantity of fat or oil at a high temperature is known as sautéing. It is a simple technique that maximizes flavor while minimizing cooking time.

First, place a sauté pan on a high heat and add just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. The oil allows even heating and prevents sticking while the high temperature browns the food, quickly sealing in the juices.

A fat or oil that can withstand high heat, such as clarified butter or canola oil, is essential. When the oil is hot, place the food in the pan on its most attractive side. Do not overcrowd the pan because the temperature will drop and the food will not brown properly.

After the first side has browned, turn it over and brown the other side. Do not turn the food more than once or twice because this will hinder flavor creation.

Sautéing is most effective with fish and thin cuts of tender meat. Thicker pieces would burn before the inside was cooked, and so it is necessary to decrease the heat after the initial browning. Cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of the food and personal taste.

Water Sautéing
Carrots, potatoes, broccoli and other "meaty" vegetables can be water sautéed as a quick and flavorful change to boiling and steaming.

Water sautéing first uses steam to soften the vegetable and then direct heat and oil to brown it.

Place a non-stick sauté pan over a medium flame. Add a sliced clove of garlic, some red pepper flakes, a few tablespoons of olive oil, and enough water to submerge the garlic.
Let the mixture boil until it totally evaporates, and the garlic and pepper begin to sauté in the oil.

A mild garlic and pepper flavor remains in the oil and coating the pan. Then, add the vegetables, sliced carrots for instance, and enough water to partially submerge them. Bring the pan back to a boil, and cover and simmer for a three to five minutes. The steam will make the carrots tender.

Remove the lid and turn up the heat to let the water evaporate. The tender carrots will begin to sauté in the oil. Sauté until slightly caramelized. The mild garlic and red pepper will enhance the flavor of the beautifully browned and slightly crisp carrots. Be creative by trying other vegetable and seasoning combinations.

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