Sauteed potatoes typically refer to a number of different dishes that can be prepared by cooking potatoes in a shallow skillet using cooking oil or a similar ingredient. There are a variety of ways in which the potatoes can be prepared for this dish, though they are often sliced, cubed, or cut into chunks. Butter is commonly melted to cook sauteed potatoes, though vegetable oil can also be used, as can animal fat from bacon. These potatoes are typically cooked until they are soft, often until they are golden brown and the edges and sides become crispy.
The basic idea behind sauteed potatoes is fairly simple. They are prepared using different types of potatoes that have been cut in a variety of ways. Rather than simply cooking them in a dry skillet or in an oven, however, they are cooked through wet heat that takes the form of hot oil or butter.
One of the most common ways in which sauteed potatoes can be prepared is through cubing them. This means that the potatoes are cut into pieces of relatively similar shape and size, that are typically fairly small, and then cooked in a skilled. Potato slices can also be used, which are usually cut rather thin and laid in a single layer in the skillet. These methods are often ideal since they provide for relatively even heating, though roughly chopped or "chunked" potatoes are also usable.
The type of oil or lubricant used to make sauteed potatoes can also vary significantly. Butter is often used, which is allowed to melt in a hot skillet before the potatoes are added. This adds a rich flavor and allows the potatoes to cook properly. Vegetable oil can also be used to introduce less fat into the dish, though the flavor is typically not as notable compared to butter. Animal fat such as bacon grease can also be used to make sauteed potatoes, which gives them a deeper, smoky flavor.
One of the most important things in making sauteed potatoes is for the person sauteing them to ensure they are cooked sufficiently. The pieces of potato should be dried to remove as much excess moisture as possible prior to cooking. Once they are added to the hot skillet, they usually cook for quite some time to remove moisture within the potatoes, allowing them to become soft and fluffy. The sauteed potatoes then continue to cook until the outsides of them become golden and start to crisp, which creates a textural contrast between their inside and exterior.