Sautéing is a technique in which you cook food very quickly in a small amount of fat, in a skillet or sauté pan, over very high heat. The word sauté in French means “to jump.” This refers to the sautéing motion of flipping the contents in your pan from front to back, causing them to “jump” out of the pan.
When “sautéing” a larger item such as veal scaloppine, you are simply cooking the piece of veal very quickly on both sides and finishing it on the stove top.
Some Things to Keep In Mind When Sautéing
- Always use a heavy bottom sauté pan with low, flared edges. The heavy bottom will allow your pan to heat more evenly, and the flared edges will aid you in the sautéing motion.
- When choosing which kind of fat you will be sautéing with, take into consideration the flavor and smoke point of each fat. When sautéing, I prefer canola oil for it’s neutral flavor and high smoke point. Clarified butter also works well.
- Always sauté over high heat.
How To Make The Sautéing Motion
- Place your elbow against your ribcage and touch your thumb to your shoulder; we will call this the 90 degree position.
- Drop your hand directly in front of you at a 45 degree angle (half of 90) so that your forearm and bicep are forming an “L”.
- Lift the sauté pan off of the burner and in one fluid motion with your wrist, dip the pan down to a 40 degree angle while pushing it forward. As the contents of the pan start sliding up the front rim, pull the pan back and up at a 50 degree angle.
You should be doing the above step in one, seamless and continuous motion. If you don’t get it on your first try, don’t be discouraged. It’s one of those things that you’ll need to practice to master.