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Best Basic Greens

Collards, kale, and other greens take kindly to this gentle treatment, which results in tender, colorful, flavorful vegetables. The measurements are imprecise for a reason; this is more a method than an actual recipe.

Ingredients
1 bunch collards
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
1. Tear the leaves from the thick stems of the collards (discard the stems). Thoroughly wash the collards; drain but do not dry. Place a large handful of the rinsed collards on a cutting board and roughly cut into approximately 1-inch-wide strips. Repeat with remaining collards. Work quickly; this is not an exact science.

2. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and stir once or twice. Immediately add the still-damp collards. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover the pot and let cook, undisturbed, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir. Cook a few minutes longer, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if they stick, until collards are just tender but still bright green.

Makes 4 to 6 servings. Preparation time: 10 minutes. Total time: 18 minutes