Many people on seeing the word ‘salad’ in a cookbook will tend to shudder and pass quickly on to the section marked ‘chocolate’. This is because for many years salads have had a rather bad press, and have been associated mainly with dieting and the depression that often follows. However, French salads take us far beyond these stereotypical wet-lettuce-and-celery-stick meals and into an area of vast and delicious diversity. For a start, salads do not have to contain lettuce. They do not even have to contain vegetables, although they do provide a wonderful means of making the most of the seasonal fruits and vegetables that are one of the principal beauties of a French market. Salads may be served warm or cold and contain raw or cooked ingredients, but will most often be served with some form of dressing, usually containing lemon juice, vinegar, oil and spices.