Heat and cooking speed

Joined Dec 7, 2009
Kind of a basic question but I have been making a simple dish we like that has you cooking thin sliced squash and zuchinni for about ten minutes until tender crisp, I am not sure if it says saute or not but:

In general when cooking something like this I would rather cook it slower over twice the time period because I am doing other things and would rather not have to stir it so much.  I suppose when they say saute it has to be hot, hot, hot.  I heard one reason was the food will absorb oil.

I know I make a post like this before but a little review wont hurt if you will tolerate me.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
because I am doing other things

Other things like what? Food prep? Surely not. If there's one thing we've tried to teach you it's mise en place.

However, ten minutes seems like an awfully long time to me to saute squashes to the tender-crisp stage. At a low flame it would hardly take that long to sweat them to that point. What dish are they going into?

That aside, if you're going to cook the squashes slower, may as well just steam them. Put an inch of water in a pot, bring just to a boil, plop the steamer in place, and put the squashes in it.

No turning or stirring at all. But you'll still have to monitor them so they don'e overcook.
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Unless you are cooking in 200 pound batches piled high, you are cooking for  to long. You are not sauteing because you probably started with cold butter or oil in a cold pan.
Last edited:
Joined Feb 13, 2008
From a technical standpoint, it sounds like you're doing pretty much everything wrong.  The bright spot is that you're fooling around with heat management to control times.

Unfortunately, if you want to be a good cook, you're going to have to organize things in such a way that you can devote the necessary, uninterrupted attention to cooking things in the ways they ought to be cooked. 

Most sautes should be done with little enough oil (and/or butter) that the food absorbing it won't be a major problem.  What will happen is that the food will be greasy. 

Here's how to saute.  Preheat the dry pan until it's hot.  Add a little oil off the fire, if the oil smokes add the food immediately.  If not, return the pan to the fire, and the oil will shimmer and/or run free when it's ready.  Don't let it smoke. 

Then add the food to be sauteed in an amount which doesn't overcrowd the pan.  Allow the pan to sit on a medium high flame for a minute or so without shaking, stirring or agitating.  Give the pan a shake. 

Wet foods, like squash, are inherently sticky when they start to cook and will stick to the bottom of the pan.  Good.  It helps you time their cooking properly and allows you to cook their cut surfaces to a glaze, rather than mush or grease them. 

Give the pan a vigorous shake every thirty seconds or so, until the food starts moving around.  Once it does, keep agitating the pan and toss the food frequently until it's done.   

Hope this helps,

Joined Dec 7, 2009
I want to thank the gentlemen from Kentucky, Florida, and California.  I appreciate the time you have taken to help me with my sincere request for information.  I do have alot to learn still but it is fun and this group is a valuable asset.

Best wishes to everyone and your families, you are top notch people.

By the way the recipe said to cook ten minutes not saute, perhaps I worded the question wrong.
Top Bottom