Cooking by Sauteing

Cooking by Sauteing

The object of sautéing foods is to produce a flavorful exterior with the best possible texture and color. The proper color and texture will vary, of course, depending upon the food you are sautéing. Red meats and game should have a deep-brown exterior. White meats, such as veal, pork and poultry should have a golden or amber exterior. Lean white fish will be pale gold when sautéed as skinless fillets, whereas steaks of firm fish, such as tuna, will take on a darker color. Onions can be sautéed to a variety of stages : limp and translucent, crisp and deep brown or a rich mahogany with melting texture.

Because sautéing is a rapid technique and does not have the tenderizing effect of some of the moist-heat methods, any food to be sautéed must be naturally tender. This technique cooks food rapidly in a small amount of fat over relatively high heat. The juices released during cooking form the base for a sauce made in the same pan and served with the sautéed item.

The sauce serves three purposes -

  • It captures the food's flavor that is lost during cooking.

  • It introduces additional flavor (an important factor because tender foods often have a subtle flavor). It counteracts the dryness resulting from the sautéing process.

Stir-frying, generally associated with Asian styles of cooking and successfully borrowed by innovative Western chefs, shares many similarities with sautéing. Foods to be stir-fried are customarily cut into small pieces and cooked rapidly in a small amount of oil.

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