In my local greengrovers the other day fennel were $5 for three. I needed one to make a favourite mussel dish, and I bought the other with the exciting prospect of developing a new dish with one of my favourite recipes. Where does the French provincial come from then, since I made it up in the Northern beaches? Eschallots, these little brown onions used in so much French cuisine just happened to be left over from some dish I'd made some weeks ago and since I had no other onions at home I used them. One of these fortuitous occasions when playing a reserve delivered a much better outcome. In this recipe I also used puy lentils, a French lentil that holds its shape no matter how long it's cooked for.