It took a family to perfect La Selva's pollo al carbón
Aida Aracely Segura’s family always cooked pollo al carbón, or grilled chicken, when gathering for reunions. Then family members would argue over the recipe. “Every year we added something new,” she says.
Since May, Segura has been cooking the family's superb chicken ($9 per half-chicken, $15 per whole) at the Upper Haight Farmers’ Market every Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m.
The chicken has long been the cornerstone of the menu at the Seguras’ La Selva Taqueria in Richmond in the East Bay. Aida and her brother, Armando, opened a San Rafael location last year, grilling in the parking lot every day. (The grill shuts down after lunch, so visit early.)
Achiote gives the garlicky, peppery marinade its orange hue, Aida admits. But the real secret is that she leaves the rub on the chicken for an inordinately long time so the flavors penetrate to the bone.
At each location, the two serving sizes are accompanied by forgettable rice and beans and a nerve-zapping roast-chile salsa. The chicken itself is magnificent when pulled off the flames, juicy and vividly flavorful.
Your family may not argue over the recipe. They will, however, squabble over the last piece.
La Selva Taqueria, 555 E Francisco Blvd., San Rafael, 415-485-5682; or at the Upper Haight Farmers’ Market, Webster and Stanyan Sts.
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