The Art of Saute, Part Four


When we left off several months ago I had talked to you about some of the Rules of Sauté . You can refer back to The Art of Sauté, Part OnePart Two, and Part Three for a refresher.

We have discussed proper equipment staring with pans, knives and cutting boards. Now it is time to discuss miscellaneous tools that every kitchen should have.

Measuring devices, whether they be scales, cups, spoons or otherwise, are hugely important in most cooking, at least until you learn the principles of seasoning and preparation well enough to look at it and get the feel for proper levels of seasoning. For true consistency, measure.

The reality of when you are working in a restaurant is, that you often don’t have time to stop and measure things, so you shoot from the hip and hope to get it right, time and time again. This isn’t exactly true. In a restaurant environment you are actually not shooting from the hip, because at a certain point in your training, your senses become well enough acclimated and honed, to a level where, one look or one smell and you know whether you got it right or not.

Tongs are hugely important in most sautés. Spring-loaded is a must. They generally come in three sizes.

The short ones (7-inch) put your hands too close to the fire, and are not good for that reason. The smell of burning arm or hand hair is a less than desirable effect. The long ones (16-inch) put you too far from the food and offer less control at the cooking point. The 12-inch ones are just right, giving you enough distance and control. Make sure they have the heavy-duty spring and aren’t cheap and flimsy.

I like these tongs best.

My third choice.

Not bad, either.

The first pair above are what I use. They are well constructed with an extra-heavy spring. The second pair has a little locking mechanism at the far end where it can slide down, get in the way, sometimes pinch the skin of your hand and in general be a nuisance more than a help. The third style are pretty good because the handles stay cooler but they can lose their tensil strength and become ineffective as they wear out, which will also happen with spring loaded. Once they go bad, replace them.

Other goodies that are important are a meat hammer. I recommend the two sided ones like the 10-inch one I am showing here.

Bob Zimorino's preferred meat hammer.

My favorite style of meat mallet.

They come in stainless steel and cast aluminum.

They need to be heavy but not burdensome. I like the one-piece construction and they last for ever. The wooden handle ones are my least favorite because wood dries out and the head loosens.



A colander and a strainer

The colander being a free-standing unit and the strainer being hand-held.

I like this free-standing style colander.

And this hand-held mesh strainer.


A variety of bowls in a variety of sizes

Whether stainless steel or glass, I have bowls that are as small as four ounces and as big as a punch bowl, with several sizes in between. For sauté purposes, I use a combination of four and eight ounce bowls for groups of three or less, depending on what I am cutting up for use in the dish. Broccoli, when prepped, requires more room than, say, onions or carrots, so I go slightly larger for stuff like that.

The last thing is hand tools, like:


I prefer stainless steel (I am not a fan of the plastic ones) for flipping filets and heat resistant rubber ones for clearing the pan).

I like these spatulas.

I like these heat-resistant rubber spatulas.



I also like stainless steel whisks, in both 7-inch and 12-inch sizes.


I like this style whisk.

Not this.




The rubber-handled ones are the most comfortable. There is little in life worse than a lousy peeler except a lousy can opener, so keep that in mind when you are buying one of those, too.

I like this style peeler.

Not this.


Hand juicers

You don’t need a machine, just a little hand strength and one of these units like I have shown here. They are also availble in stainless and plastic.

A simple juicer will do the trick.


That is about it for miscellaneous equipment but there may be more that I think about as we move forward, and forward we shall move because next week, we are staring our first sauté.


Read Bob’s previous blogs in this series: The Art of Sauté, Part One, The Art of Sauté, Part Two, The Art of Saute, Part Three, and Big Louie and the Dinner Crew.

Visit the “Taste It” archive or check out Bob’s recipes.


Bob Zimorino is a full-time real estate agent with Lambros/ERA Real Estate, a retired Certified Executive Chef, a musician with the popular local band Mudfoot and the Dirty Soles, a dad, and a grandpa. He shares the experiences from his life that helped shape his careers and hobbies. His weekly “Taste It” blog is his take on the evolution of food in his lifetime.