Sauteing techniques

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\N \N How to Saut‚

While stir-frying cooks small pieces of seafood and vegetables over high heat with constant stirring, saut‚ing is done in a skillet over moderate heat with less activity. First you brown the fish on one side, then turn it over to finish cooking on the other ÄÄ an ideal way to cook larger or more delicate pieces of fish.

The fish can be whole, cut into easy-to-handle fillets, or cut into small pieces. Very thin fillets are tricky to saut‚ because they become quite fragile as they cook; you might want to consider steaming them instead. To create a nice crisp coating when saut‚ing, first dust the fish lightly with flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs or finely chopped nuts.

Once the fish is cooked and has been transferred to warmed dinner plates, you can make sauce in a flash using the same skillet. Add a splash of lemon juice or white wine, some freshly chopped herbs and/or minced green onion, heat just until warmed and pour over the fish to serve. Or add a handful of chopped nuts to the skillet, toast over moderately high heat, and scatter over the fish.

Because saut‚ing requires the use of fat (oil, butter, or margarine), you can't avoid the added calories, but a skillet with a nonstick surface keeps added fat to a minimum. If you are not using a nonstick pan, be sure that a thin layer of fat evenly covers the bottom of the pan. You may need more or less oil than called for in the recipe depending on the size of the pan.

1. If cooking the fish uncoated, pat dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture and avoid splattering during cooking. If coating the fish, lightly dust with the chosen coating and pat to remove the excess.

2. Heat the oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the fish. Take are that the fish fits evenly in the pan without overlapping. If necessary, cook the fish in batches or in two pans at one time. Cook the fish until nicely browned, then carefully turn.

3. Continue cooking until well browned on both sides and opaque through the thickest part of the fish. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish, but figure roughly 10 minutes total for each inch of thickness.

4. Transfer the fish to warmed dinner plates and cover with foil to keep warm. Add sauce ingredients to the pan and bring to a boil.

5. Arrange the fish on individual plates, spoon sauce over the fish and serve.

Simply Seafood Fall 1994

Posted by Michael Prothro

From Gemini's MASSIVE MealMaster collection at

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