Bright Stars

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

We have a star-studded show today: Samuel L. Jackson talks about his career and his role in Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, “Django Unchained.” Then Harry Belafonte and Peter Coyote discuss an upcoming concert to benefit the Native American activist Leonard Peltier, who’s been imprisoned since the mid 1970s. And Ric Ocasek discusses his work with and beyond his iconic band The Cars. But first, Mark Bittman talks about food policy, seasonal dishes, and of course, how to cook everything.

Mark Bittman on Food Matters

Mark Bittman, author of How to Cook Everything and the New York Times' Minimalist, discusses his recent Times columns and blog on food. He also talks about how to make better food labels, improve farming and our food supply, and—of course—how to cook everything.

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Ric Ocasek on Lyrics and Prose

Ric Ocasek of the band The Cars, talks about his career beyond the band—from writing and performing solo work, publishing poetry in Granta and elsewhere, and producing albums for musical artists such as Weezer, Hole, Guided By Voices, and Jonathan Richman. In Lyrics & Prose, Ocasek collects his lyrics together for the first time—from his work with The Cars’ 1978 self titled debut album to his six solo albums.

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Harry Belafonte and Peter Coyote

Harry Belafonte and Peter Coyote talk about the benefit concert “Bring Leonard Peltier Home,” which they are hosting along with Pete Seeger, on December 14 at the Beacon Theatre. The concert features performances by Jackson Browne, Bruce Cockburn, Jennifer Kreisberg, Bill Miller, Margo Thunderbird, and guest speakers Peter Matthiesson, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, Peter Coyote, and former Amnesty International President Jack Healey. Leonard Peltier is a celebrated Native American activist and humanitarian imprisoned since the mid-1970s for his involvement with controversial incidents at Wounded Knee and Oglala, South Dakota, including the shooting deaths of two FBI agents. He has has been designated a political prisoner by Amnesty International.

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Samuel L. Jackson

Actor Samuel L. Jackson talks about his career and about starring in Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, “Django Unchained.”

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Roasted Salmon with Butter

This dish is perfect for entertaining—you can serve it hot or at room temperature.

TIME 20 minutes

MAKES 6 to 8 servings

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 salmon fillet (2 to 3 pounds), skin on if you like
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

1. Heat the oven to 475°F. When the oven is hot, put the butter on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the pan in the oven for the butter to melt, about 1 minute. Watch it the whole time: As soon as the foaming stops, remove the pan.

2. Put the salmon in the seasoned butter, skin side down, and sprinkle the top with more salt and pepper. Return the pan to the oven.

3. Roast until the salmon is just cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes. To see whether the fish is done, stick a paring knife between the layers of flesh; the center should be bright pink and still a little translucent. Garnish with the parsley and serve.


Salmon is one of the most popular types of fish in the United States, and deservedly so. It’s got beautiful, tender flesh (as long as you don’t overcook it) and amazing flavor. Wild salmon, which at this point comes pretty much exclusively from the Pacific Northwest (mostly Alaska), is the best choice for the environment and is leaner, darker, and better tasting than farm-raised salmon.



Herb-Roasted Salmon: Skip the parsley for garnish. In Step 1, use 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. In Step 2, add 2 tablespoons minced shallot and ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or basil leaves or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, thyme, or dill leaves to the pan along with the salmon. Continue with the recipe.

 Salmon Roasted with Olives and Thyme: Skip the parsley for garnish. Before Step 1, pit and chop 1 cup kalamata olives. In Step 1, sprinkle the salmon with pepper, but skip the salt (olives have plenty). In Step 2, add the olives and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves to the pan along with the salmon.  Continue with the recipe.


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