Basic Cooking Techniques Continued (S-Z)






This month we are talking about sautéing, searing, tempering, and zesting — basic cooking techniques everyone can do.



The definition of sauté is to fry food in a small amount of fat. Sautéing involves the transfer of heat from the pan to food, usually lubricated by a thin coating of oil that both prevents food from sticking to the pan and aids in the conduction of heat, browning the surface of meat or vegetables. Foods that are typically sautéd: vegetables, steaks, and chicken breasts.

Find the perfect sauté pan here.

chef sauteing something over open flame


When grilling, braising, or sautéing, the surface of the ingredient is first seared at a high temperature to create a flavor-packed, caramelized, and browned crust. The key with searing (aka “browning”) is patience: it’s very tempting to move meat or fish around once it hits the pan, but give it a good uninterrupted chance to fully brown before turning it to the other side—it will lift and separate from the pan when it’s fully ready.

Find the perfect fry pan for searing here


Tempering is to slowly bring up the temperature of a cold or room temperature ingredient by adding small amounts of a hot or boiling liquid.  Adding the hot liquid gradually prevents the cool ingredient (such as eggs) from cooking or setting. The tempered mixture can then be added back to hot liquid for further cooking. Tempering is probably most often used with chocolate.



Grated zest is simply the grated rind (outer colored portion) from citrus fruits. It is used in cooking because the rind holds the precious oils where the entire flavor resides. To grate zest or rind, take a box grater and rub the fruit against the grater. Do not rub the fruit down to the white inner skin, known as the pith, which is bitter. When removing the skin from oranges or other citrus fruit, be sure to take only the thin outer zest or colored portion. 

Try this zester

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