- Posted February 12, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Who taught you to love food?
A common first step to making pastas or other dishes is sautéing, which is to cook food over relatively high heat in little oil using quick “jumping” motions. It usually occurs before cooking pasta, where garlic, onions, mushrooms, are chopped or sliced into small and thin slices and tossed with little oil over high heat while constantly stirring or tossing the ingredients around the pan, to facilitate fast cooking. It may also be used as a cooking technique for vegetables or meat, which is usually browned before adding sauce or deglazing the pan’s residue.
Unlike frying, which uses more oil, sautéing involves using less oil, usually just enough to coat the bottom of the pan to prevent ingredients from sticking to the pan. Monounsaturated oils such as olive oil or canola oil are common oils used for this method of cooking due to the fact that they are more heat-stable and can withstand relatively high heat without disrupting its chemical structure. Instead of regular butter, which has higher milk solid content, clarified butter is used in sautéing.
To perform this cooking technique, a shallow pan is used, usually a pan where food can be placed in one layer to facilitate even and faster cooking. This one layer also allows steam to escape, which makes sautéing differing from stewing. Pans usually have low sides and flat bases unlike soup pots. The vertical low sides of sauté pans are also different from the slanted high sides of skillets, woks, or certain frying pans. The technique is different from searing, which just browns the surface of a thick slice of meat in both sides.
This method is an easy way as a prerequisite to some dishes like pasta and soup. In soups such as pumpkin or potato bacon soup, the main ingredient is sautéed with olive oil, garlic, onions, and some spices, before adding the broth and pouring the mixture on a blender to liquefy and blend everything. Vegetables may also be sautéed for a light and healthy meal for a quick lunch or dinner. They also may be tossed with pasta and grated parmesan cheese for a healthy but filling meal. Meats may also be cooked this way prior to making them soups or pasta. Seafood such as shrimp, tilapia, and halibut may also be sautéed with ginger, oil, and garlic, for tangy but healthy dishes for the whole family to enjoy. As a soup, appetizer, or main dish, all you need is a frying pan, a little oil to coat, and some of your favorite ingredients and a bit of time to create awesome dishes for the family to enjoy.