Cream-Less Corn and Salmon Is Simple Dinner Magic

Creamed corn conjures images of cafeterias and frozen TV dinners. But freshly cut corn, blended with a touch of butter to engage the natural starch in the kernels, is as surprising as it is satisfying. Making a quick broth with the cobs ensures that every last drop of flavor and starch is pulled from them.

Read more: A Week of Dinners with Abra Berens

Creamless Corn with Sautéed Greens and Seared Salmon


  • 6 ears

    sweet corn (about 1/2 cup per ear), shucked, kernels cut off, cob liquid reserved

  • Neutral oil

  • 2 sprigs

    fresh thyme

  • 1

    medium red onion or shallot, cut into thin slices

  • Salt

  • 4 tablespoons


  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 6

    (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets

  • 2 or 3 bunches

    kale or any hearty greens you have like chard, cabbage, beet greens, or a mix (about 1 pound total), cut into ribbons

  • 2 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup

    white wine

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes


  1. In a medium pot, place the cobs and just enough water to cover and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the cobs from the liquid, giving them one final scrape with the back of a knife to extract as much liquid as possible back into the pot.

  2. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to 2 cups.

  3. In a new pot (or transfer the boiled liquid to a bowl and reuse the pot if you like), heat a glug of neutral oil over high heat until shimmering, and fry the thyme, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and sweat the onion with a big pinch of salt, about 5 minutes.

  4. Remove the thyme sprigs and add the corn kernels and the 2 cups cob broth. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.

  5. Use an immersion blender or food processor to whiz the corn until well blended, knowing there will be some chunks left. Add the butter, a pinch of salt, and pepper and stir until the butter is melted. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

  6. In a large frying pan, heat a glug of oil until smoking. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Pat the skin-side dry and sear until medium. Remove from the pan to a plate, and let rest.

  7. Wipe the frying pan clean and heat another glug of neutral oil over high heat until smoking. Add the greens and lightly fry. Add the garlic, a pinch of salt, the wine, and the pepper flakes and let cook until the liquid is reduced.

  8. Spoon the corn onto dinner plates. Add a big forkful of greens to each and top with the salmon, skin-side up.

Recipe Notes

Reprinted with permission from Ruffage by Abra Berens, Chronicle Books 2019.

Find the book: Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables, by Abra Berens

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