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One thing is the technical explanation, but I doubt very much that a tourist would be interested in HOW it's done, but what the end result is, which is normally a grilled steak (sorry, but I spent 23 years in food services at management level, and I would NEVER translate this as "sautéed steak". But, then, I live in Spain.
Sautéing is the same as pan-frying - to cook quickly in a little fat. It comes from the French word "to jump," because the food in the pan is supposed to sizzle as it cooks and perhaps be stirred around. It's a common cooking method and is very easy to do, but there are some pointers to keep in mind for best results.
The high heat is necessary to brown the outside and cook foods fast enough so that the inside doesn't dry out. This is especially true of meat. The fibers in meats contract as they cook and squeeze out moisture as they do so. The effect is exactly like wringing out a wet towel. In any dry-heat cooking method, such as sautéing or grilling, the idea is to cook the food quickly before all the moisture is wrung out, but not so fast that the food burns.
and Wikipedia on sautéing steak, etc, and the fats that can be used:
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.