When asked about her family’s holiday food traditions, Susannah Locketti writes in: “I married into a Jewish family and my own family has Jewish roots so everyone expects latkes at the holiday brunch I host annually on Christmas Day.” She keeps her menu simple: strip or sirloin steaks, scrambled eggs, grilled bagels with compound butter and scallion cream cheese, fruit salad, and of course, loads of latkes.

Susannah learned to make latkes by watching her mother over the years. Even for a large-scale brunch, she advises mixing up just one batch at a time to assure all the moisture from the potatoes is squeezed out evenly. “Larger batches are harder to get all the liquids out and I find leads to a soggier latke,” she explains. “This extra step ensures crispy, crunchy latkes every time.”

One problem in producing latkes at this brunch is that the anticipation of eating them has been known to overwhelm decorum. “People are waiting by the stove for the first batch and just keep stealing them off the paper towels!” So now Susannah’s mother arrives with a batch already made, and they quell the crowd with these ringers while frying up the next batch. Susannah reports, “this system has resolved a lot of latke frustration.”

The prospect of latkes hot off the griddle assures punctuality, an important factor since each guest is responsible for some element of the brunch. For example, it falls to Susannah’s in-laws to provide the lavish amounts of applesauce and sour cream required to accompany the latkes.

  • 1 large russet potato
  • ¼ onion, grated
  • 1 tablespoon matzah meal or flour
  • 1 egg
  • a pinch Hippy Pilgrim Original Garlic Salt
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • sour cream and applesauce, to accompany

Shred the potato and squeeze all the moisture out with a cloth.

Stir together potato, onion, matzah meal, egg, and garlic salt.

Heat a large pan or griddle over a medium-high flame and film with vegetable oil. Spoon small amounts of latke batter onto the hot fat, using a fork to gently spread the mixture to be sure the latkes turn out thin and crispy without a soggy middle.

Only turn the latkes once, so when you see the edges getting browned and crispy it’s time to turn them. Be patient. Turning too early leads to an oily, soggy latke.

Brown on the other side and remove to cookie sheets lined with wire racks. Season with another quick pinch of garlic salt and hide them in an oven at low temperature as you fry the rest.

Makes 12 to 15 latkes.