A soul-food favorite, nutrient-packed collard greens are related to kale and cabbage but have a milder taste. Look for crisp, dark green leaves, without yellowing or insect damage. Blot dry and refrigerate in plastic for three to five days. Use a knife or your hands to remove leaves from the tough, inedible stems all the way through each leaf; stack leaves and slice before cooking.
Although collards’ leathery texture stands up to cooking, there’s no need to boil them into submission; a gentle approach heightens the earthy flavor. Stir sliced collards into 1 cup salted, boiling water; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, until very tender. Uncover, add pepper to taste, and cook a few minutes more to reduce liquid; stir in cooked garlic and onion, and serve with corn bread.
Sneak vitamins A, C, calcium, and iron into casseroles and gratins by adding a layer of chopped collards; stir collard ribbons into marinara or chicken noodle soup. For an Asian twist, braise collards in a mixture of water, mirin, tamari, freshly grated ginger, and Szechuan pepper.