I first heard about this "new" grain back in March, but when I mentioned it to Canadian Doomer, and she found the price, I put it out of my head.
Then I got last week's flyer for my local bulk food store, which featured the for the "sale" price of $3.99 a pound. As the flyer also had a $3.00 off coupon if you spent more than $10.00, I figured it was time to try naked oats.
So, along with the peas from the CSA box, I made a potato curry (very simple - saute some onions, add some broth (I used chicken), cut up potatoes and curry powder, simmer until the taters are almost done, add the peas, cook until done) and served it over the oats.
It is not a rice substitute. Really, it isn't. It was fantastic, and in a direct comparison, I actually prefer it to rice. It is most similar to brown rice, but nuttier and chewier - both qualities I love in my grains. However, for certain dishes, like curries, rice works better because it "disappears" into the dish. Naked oats, like barley in my risotto, lends such distinctive flavour and texture, it does not make good supporting characters. That being said, I, personally, would have no issues with replacing rice with naked oats, but I love the chewiness and nuttiness of oats and barley, and not everyone does. And I also don't cook a lot with rice to begin with, so a "lesser" replacement wouldn't impact me that much.
However... We get back into that compromise between frugality and sustainability and local eating.
Please realize that the normal price for naked oats is over $5.00 a pound, and even on sale, this item is about 3 times more expensive than rice. For a family that eats a lot of rice, this is not going to be a frugal replacement. Even for me, I'd think twice about buying this at regular prices. Especially when there are local replacements (wheat and barley) that are very similar, and much less expensive.
I didn't use all that I bought for the curry, so I think my next trick will be to do a head-to-head-to-head comparison with oats, wheat and barley. Until then, the jury is out :)