Sautéing is a method of cooking food that uses a small amount of fat in a shallow pan over relatively high heat. Unlike pan-searing, sautés are often finished with a sauce made from the pan's residual fond. Sauter means "to jump" in French — The method includes flipping the food in the air.
Food that is sautéed is usually cooked for a relatively short period of time over high heat, with the goal of browning the food while preserving its color, moisture and flavor. This is very common with more tender cuts of meat, e.g. tenderloin, pork chops, or filet mignon. Sautéing 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 sautéing, but most fats will do. Regular butter will produce more flavor but will burn at a lower temperature and more quickly than other fats due to the presence of milk solids.