This is just a basic warm grain salad, that you could vary in endless ways. A great variation would be to remove the fiddles and add some dried fruit, and or toasted nuts. Served as-is alongside some meat, a mushroom sauce would be a great accompaniment.
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Keyword: Black Barley, Black Lentils, Fiddleheads, Pickled Ramps
1/3cupeach: black barleywild rice (wood parched lake variety if available), black Italian rice.
1/2cupblack beluga lentils
Kosher saltas needed
Fresh ground black pepper
8large rampsleaves removed and sliced into 1 in strips, bulbs roughly sliced.
2ouncesfresh fiddleheadsabout 1.5 cups
Champagne vinegarto taste
2tbspvirgin sunflower oilor another flavorful oil, like walnut
2tbspflavorless oil like grapeseed or canola
Rinse the grains and lentils and inspect for any debris. Put each of the grains and lentils into separate pots, cover with 3 times their volume of water, then season the water lightly with salt. Bring the grains and lentils to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook each of the grains until tender, but not mushy. Lake parched wild rice will cook the fastest, followed by the lentils, the black barley and the black rice take the longest to cook.
When each of the grains are cooked, drain them of their liquid and cool on a cookie sheet.
For the fiddleheads, bring a couple quarts of water to a boil, then season lightly to taste with salt. When the water is at a rolling boil, add the fiddleheads and cook for three minutes. Remove the fiddles and chill in an ice bath to preserve their color.
To finish and serve the salad, heat the sunflower and grapeseed oil in a pan, then add the ramp bulbs. Cook until the bulbs are translucent, about two minutes, then add the grains, lentils and the chicken stock. Cook until the chicken stock is absorbed, and the grains are fluffy and moist. Toss in the fiddleheads, just to heat through, then add the ramp leaves, just to wilt. Season the salad to taste with the vinegar, (a tbsp or two should do) double check the seasoning for salt and pepper, then serve. The salad can be held warm for a long time in a covered pan, with the ramp leaves and fiddles added just before serving.