From ABCV's chef de cuisine Neal Harden: "At the restaurant, we use specialized ovens, such as a combination oven (half steam, half heat) to start it, and we finish it in a wood oven for a smoky char. I definitely had to simplify that, but otherwise I mostly kept it the same. It has a pretty gratuitous list of garnishes, and I suspect many may choose to leave a couple out with little loss of deliciousness."
This recipe is a doozy, but don't let that intimidate you! (It's worth it.) Many of these components will yield more than is necessary for the recipe, and chef Harden would encourage you to go ahead and make those sturdy pickled pearl onions and dehydrated Kalamata olives to enjoy long after you've made this dish. Be sure to let us know how it goes.
Make the pickled pearl onions in advance: Bring Set 1 to a boil. Place Set 2 in cheesecloth and place in a large jar with Set 3. Pour hot Set 1 over Sets 2 and 3. Let cool, then seal and refrigerate. You will have the bulk of this pickle to enjoy long after this recipe is done.
For the whole roasted cauliflower: Preheat oven to 400° F. Blend first 3 ingredients until smooth in a high-powered blender, like a Vitamix. Rub onto cauliflower head. Wrap in foil and bake for 45 minutes. Unwrap and roast at 375° F for an additional 20 minutes to brown and cook until fully tender. This may require more time based on size (for example, Romanesco cooks faster than other varieties). Check doneness by testing the tenderness of the bottom stem with a paring knife.
For the pistachio-sesame condiment: Place all ingredients in a sauté pan and slowly cook over a very low flame until lightly toasted and the lemon zest is fully dried. Cool and reserve.
For the dried Kalamata olives: Place drained Kalamata olives in a dehydrator and dehydrate on 160° F degrees overnight (alternately, you can dry roast on your oven's lowest/warming setting). Remove and chop. Reserve (you will have leftover dried olives that you can sprinkle over salads).
For the tahini sauce: Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender, like a Vitamix, until very smooth. Strain through a chinois or fine strainer to eliminate any potential ginger hairs.
To serve: Top hot cauliflower with pistachio-sesame condiment, olives, herbs, chiles, onions, and pomegranate. Finish with fresh black pepper. Serve lemons and sauce on the side. Stab a steak knife into the top if you so desire.