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Kitchen Tip: How to Pan Sear and Saute

Pan seared steak with veggies
Kitchen Tip: How to Pan Sear and Saute

This post is a part of Heinen’s Kitchen Tips and Techniques series designed to give everyone the skills and confidence they need to make any recipe. Videos, photographs and descriptions were provided by Heinen’s partner, Chef Billy Parisi. 

Pan searing and sautéing are very similar cooking techniques. It’s all about controlling the temperature of the oil. These are incredibly easy techniques to master, but they are so fundamental. Whether you’re cooking protein or vegetables, these simple tips will help you achieve the perfect exterior sear and beautiful interior tenderness that we all crave.

How to Pan Sear

We’re going to start with pan searing, and we’re doing it with a New York Strip Steak. You, of course, can use any protein you like, like Filet Mignon or even chicken pork or fish.

  1. Season your protein well on both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Place a cast iron skillet or pan on the burner of your cooktop.
  3. Turn the heat to high and add 2 Tbsp. of your oil of choice.
  4. Once the oil is lightly smoking, add your protein.
  5. Immediately reduce the heat to medium to ensure that the protein does not burn.
  6. Add a few pads of unsalted butter to help with the browning process and add flavor.
  7. If cooking a steak, sear for about 2-3 minutes per side to ensure that you reach a safe internal temperature.
  8. Baste your protein by gently tilting the pan towards yourself and spooning the drippings in the pan onto the top of the protein.
  9. Once the protein is done cooking remove it from the burner and set it on a cutting board to rest for 3-5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Pan Seared Steak

Click Here to Print Directions for Pan Searing.

How to Sauté

Now it’s time to move onto sautéing. It is just like pan searing except we’re going to keep the oil a little bit hotter. It doesn’t matter what kind of vegetables you’re using. Anything from carrots and butternut squash to bell peppers and zucchini will work perfectly.

  1. Place a large stainless steel frying pan over the burner of your cooktop.
  2. Turn the heat to high and add 2 Tbsp. of your oil of choice.
  3. Once the oil is lightly smoking, add your vegetables.
  4. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-high.
  5. Take the pan in one hand and push it forward and back to allow the vegetables to move around in the pan. To avoid flames, simply lift the pan about a foot off of the burner and flip the vegetables.
  6. Within 2 to 3 minutes, the vegetables will reach a golden brown exterior and tender interior. Add salt and pepper.
  7. Transfer hot vegetables directly to a plate or serving bowl and finish with fresh herbs of choice.
Sauted Vegetables
Chef Billy Parisi headshot
By Chef Billy Parisi
Chef Billy Parisi is a culinary school grad who spent 15 years in the restaurant industry as a line cook, sous chef and executive chef. Now he develops, photographs and films simple and delicious recipes that will make everyone feel like a chef in their own kitchen.

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