When I was a child, steak houses always had something called minute steak, as in minnit, on the menu, economically attractive portions that needed a mere 60 seconds to cook through. In our house they were pronounced mynuoot steaks, as if in baffled disappointment at the meagreness of the meat provided. It's hard to throw off the idea that a steak should be something chunky and big enough to get your teeth into and I certainly like my meat rare. When I'm asked at a restaurant how I want my steak cooked, I tell them just to hit it on the head and walk it straight through. So I can do a proper, fleshly steak supper pretty damn fast, but when you're really up against it, this is the perfect almost-instant dinner. Under 5 minutes is what I'm talking about from start to finish - and that isn't bad. I could hone it down by sticking to the minute steak idea, and it's fine, only there's something like little school dinners about those sad little straggly rags of steam. This is my compromise: slender but still substantial steak that cooks for 90 seconds a side. And in that time, I've produced a garlicky, lemony, ultra-fabulous, utterly addictive bean mash. The recipe makes enough for 4, more if there are children eating too, but I have to come clean and say that I don't quite halve the amounts for the mash when there are just 2 of us eating. This is just too good, and I simply go down to two cans and a little less of everything else. I'm afraid I don't really want to reduce anything at all.
4 thin-cut sirloin or entrecote steaks, about 5 ounces each
First get on with the beans: put the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a saucepan add in the garlic and the lemon zest and warm through.
Drain the beans and rinse under tap water, then add to the pan and warm through, stirring and squishing with a wide, flat spoon so that the beans go into a nubbly mush. Season, to taste. Some beans are saltier than others.
Meanwhile, heat a teaspoon of oil in a large frying pan or skillet and cook the steaks on high for about 1 1/2 minutes a side and remove to warmed plates, sprinkling some salt, to taste, over them as you do so.
Squeeze the lemon juice into the hot pan and let it bubble up with the meaty oil, then pour over the steaks. Serve immediately with the mash.
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