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I just made a batch of ratatouille using green bell peppers. There is a bitter metallic taste. Is there anything I can do to salvage this batch?

This is what I did. Olive oil was used throughout.

Peeled eggplant, sliced in chunks, salted, rinsed

Cut slender young zucchini in same size chunks; Did not salt

Cut an onion and green pepper in chunks

Defrosted frozen Roma tomatoes from last year's garden. Rough chopped

Sauteed eggplant , added to casserole dish

Sauteed zucchini with an garlic clove, added to casserole

Sauteed green peppers, onion

Added last year's frozen Roma tomatoes to the onion/pepper mix, reduced and added to casserole

(I tasted the tomatoes after they defrosted; no issues there) Added some Herbs d'Provence, covered casserole and baked.

It is bitter and metallic. What happened ? Can it be rescued?

How to avoid this next time?

(I really like fresh made ratatouille in the summer)

Thank you

  • Did you cover the dish with foil? If so, was there any contact between the foil and the ratatouille? – logophobe Jul 22 '14 at 0:57
  • Hm, any other possible sources of metal? Maybe what you sauteed things in? – Cascabel Jul 22 '14 at 1:02
  • Maybe the tomatoes were wrapped in foil in the freezer? Either way I bet the tomatoes play a role in this somehow. – Preston Jul 22 '14 at 2:59
  • No foil.I used a heavy vitreous china casserole dish with a cover.I sauteed in a Revereware stainless steel frying pan that I have been using since roughly 1970. I used a wooden spoon. – piquet Jul 22 '14 at 3:09
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What you're tasting is likely the eggplant -- eggplants with more seeds can have a distinct metallic taste, and can definitely ruin a dish. There's probably nothing that can be done for this batch, but for next time:

Look at the bottom of the eggplant when you're picking it out -- if it has a small round indentation, then it's a "male" eggplant and will have less seeds; if it's a larger horizontal indentation, then it's a "female", and will have a higher seed content (and ruin your Ratatouille). Once you look at a couple, you'll see the difference -- they're distinctly different and easy to pick out once you know what you're looking for. Google "male vs female eggplants" and you'll find plenty of pictures of this.

One note: the "male/female" nomenclature isn't exactly correct: What they call a "male" is an eggplant that was less pollenated and therefore generated less seeds, though the eggplants don't technically have any gender -- but, this is the common terminology used to describe the difference.

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