Sautéing is a method of cooking food using a small amount of fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat. Sauter means "to jump," in French, and the food being sautéed is kept moving, not unlike the stir fry technique using a wok.
Food that is sautéed is usually cooked for a relatively short period of time over high heat in order to brown the food, while preserving its color, moisture and flavor. This is very common with more tender cuts of meat, e.g. tenderloin and filet mignon. Sautéeing differs from searing in that the sautéed food is thoroughly cooked in the process. One may sear simply to add flavor and improve appearance before another process is used to finish cooking it.
Olive oil or clarified butter are commonly used for sautéeing, but most fats will do. Regular butter is less well suited for sautéeing, because it will burn at a lower temperature due to the presence of milk solids. These items are not suitable for induction ranges