Relatively delicate vegetables are ideal for sautéing, or quick cooking over high heat — such as the ripe bell peppers and sweet squashes of summer. This method sears the exteriors of the veggies for delicious caramelization and golden brown crusts, while the insides stay tender and crisp. Even if you sauté regularly, these simple tips for prepping produce and heat the pan can help you achieve the best results every time.
Keep reading for our basic recipe and step-by-step guide to perfectly sautéed vegetables, then give it a try with your favorite summer ingredients.
1 1/2 lb. zucchini or other summer squash, bell peppers, thick asparagus, or other vegetable suitable for sautéing
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
|Heat the pan
Place a large fry pan over high heat and let it heat for a few moments. While the pan is heating, place all your ingredients near the stove. To test the heat level, hold your hand over the pan until you can feel the heat rising.
|Add the oil
When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Tilt and swirl the pan to coat it with an even layer of the oil. Let the oil heat for several seconds.
|Add the vegetables
As soon as the surface of the oil appears to shimmer, quickly add the vegetable pieces to the pan. Toss to coat the vegetables with the oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
Sautéed Zucchini with Lemon-Herb Bread Crumbs
Follow the recipe for sautéed vegetables using zucchini. In a small fry pan over low heat, toss 1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs with 2 teaspoons olive oil until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram and toss for a minute or two. Transfer to a small bowl. Top the sautéed zucchini with the toasted bread-crumb mixture.
Sautéed Asparagus with Fresh Herbs
Follow the recipe for sautéed vegetables using asparagus. Toss the sautéed asparagus with 1 tablespoon slivered fresh basil or finely chopped fresh chervil, cilantro or flat-leaf (Italian) parsley.