Do you know the difference between sweating and sautéing?
To sauté means to stir your ingredients quickly over very high heat in oil, with a loud sizzling sound, that results in quick browning of the ingredients. This is used when stir frying or when you want to retain the inner structure of your vegetable, while essentially flash cooking the outside.
Sweating on the other hand is done slowly over very low heat until very translucent, with infrequent movement with the goal of breaking down the inner structures of the vegetable to release its full flavor without adding any golden or brown color.
Here I have both sweat and sautéed garlic in oil (Note: Both methods can be achieved without oil!) then added a quarter cup of water and strained the liquid into each bowl. On the left is the juices released from sweating garlic, on the right from sautéing. How stark the difference in color and flavor!
The sweat garlic has a pure clean and warm garlic flavor and the sautéed garlic on the right has a sharp caramelized garlic flavor that is quite overpowering.
Two different methods, yielding two distinct color and flavor profiles. These two techniques are used for different dishes. Which would you use for creating a soy sauce chili glaze? For potato leek soup? For a homemade tomato sauce? For a baked casserole? For a stuffed pastry? Comment with your answers below!