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To prepare the collards: Cut out the thick center rib out of each collard green. Stack the rib-less greens and roll them up into a cigar-like shape. Slice over the “cigar” as thinly as possible (⅛″ to ¼″) to make long strands. Shake up the greens and give them a few chops so the strands aren’t so long.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, then add the olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add all of the collard greens and the salt.
Stir until all of the greens are lightly coated in oil, then let them cook for about 30 seconds before stirring again. Continue stirring in 30-second intervals until the greens are wilted, dark green, and some are starting to turn browns on the edges (this is delicious). This will take between 3 to 6 minutes.
Once the collards are just about done, add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir to break up the garlic and cook until it’s fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat.
Immediately divide the cooked collards onto plates, and serve with a lemon wedge each.