Cabbages, like onions, are made of tightly wound layers. Leaves of cabbage want and need to be softened so that they are pliable enough to be pulled off of the head and rolled up with stuffing.
Here’s the simple blanching process:
Pierce the core of your fresh cabbage, tough outer leaves removed, with a two-pronged fork. Think fondue.
Get a big pot. Fill the pot up half way with water. Bring the water to a boil. Salt the water.
Place a colander over a sheet pan next to the stove.
Place the head of cabbage in the water with the fork and turn it all around to blanch the outer leaves. As the cabbage softens (a minute or two), lift the head from the water. Let the water run out of it. Use a paring knife to cut away the outer leaves over the colander, leaving them in the colander to drain.
Place the cabbage back into the boiling water and repeat, cutting off all of the layers of leaves until you’ve reached the core of the cabbage where the leaves are too small and curly to use.
There will be about 20 leaves, some of them technicolor green, others yellow. All good.
Additional note: During this process, don’t drop your beautiful but demonic camera on the kitchen floor, watching it slam against the dishwasher as it goes down, or else the camera will go dark and you’ll have to stop making cabbage rolls and slam your own head against the dishwasher in disbelief, then drive all the way to Traverse City the next morning to either get it fixed (if you’re lucky) or buy a new one (if you’re not).