Learning how to sauté will change your life in the kitchen. Sautéing is cooking food quickly at a high temperature in a small amount of oil — just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. The pan and the oil should be hot before the small or thin pieces of food are added. Pat the food dry before adding it to the hot oil. It will brown evenly and the oil won’t spatter.
In French, sauté means to jump, which translates to keeping the food moving. You can stir frequently or toss the ingredients in the pan with a flick of the wrist. Sauté pans typically have sloped sides to make it easier to flip foods. Stir-frying is an example of sautéing. Small pieces of food are cooked quickly in just a little oil over high heat in a wok instead of a saute pan. Unlike searing, where the goal is only to brown the food, sautéed foods are fully cooked.