THERE IS A TRADITION IN classic French cooking, that is still alive today, in which the vegetables served with a main course were an integral part of it. In fact, the name of a dish indicated what those vegetables would be. For example, a dish with Richelieu in its title always contained stuffed tomatoes and mushrooms, braised lettuces, and roast potatoes.
On the home-cooking level this is not necessarily the case. The French do not share the American belief that a main course should be served with a vegetable. The recipes in this section are designed as American-style side dishes, although several are suggested as first courses—which is how the French would treat them.