No really! Don’t look away. This is one of the simplest things it is possible to cook but, when done well, it has an almost alchemical ability to transmute into culinary gold.
In spring and early summer, you can use spring cabbage which only needs washing and can be served whole if you prefer but, for the rest of the year, any dark green leaf will do – savoy, cavalo nero, kale or chard (the last two take slightly longer to cook).
Put a large pan on to a high heat with about an inch / inch and a half of slightly salted water, with a lid on until it reaches a rolling boil.
In the meantime, wash the leaves, remembering that they’ll shrink a little so be generous with the amounts, remove any thick ribs from the cabbage leaves (avoid pre-cut bags of kale sold in supermarkets as the ribs are almost impossible to remove) and rip the leaves into bite-sized pieces. When the water is hot put the leaves into the water and put the lid back on. Keep the heat on as high as you can. After three minutes stir the leaves round to make sure they all cook evenly, add a touch more boiling water if they’ve boiled completely dry, and put the lid back on for another minute (or three if kale or chard).
It’s almost done. Drain the leaves in a colander, and put them back in the pan with a knob of butter and a few grinds of fresh black pepper (be generous). A touch of sea salt, a quick stir round and serve immediately, preferably in warm bowls.
That’s it. It doesn’t sound like a gourmet food but it is.