1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 pound head cauliflower, trimmed
1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 ripe but firm tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus wedges to serve
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground sumac
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a broiler-safe rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly brush the foil with oil. Place the cauliflower in the center, then draw up the edges of the foil; drizzle 2 tablespoons water onto the cauliflower, then enclose the head, folding and crimping the edges of the foil to seal. Bake until a skewer inserted into the cauliflower meets no resistance, 40 to 50 minutes.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the wrapped cauliflower cool for 10 minutes. Carefully open the foil but leave it in place under the cauliflower; set aside to cool.
While the cauliflower cools, in a 10-inch skillet over medium-low, cook the oil, pepper flakes and garlic, stirring, until the mixture sizzles lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and set aside. Grate the tomatoes on the large holes of a box grater set in a medium bowl, pressing the cut sides against the grater, until only the skin remains; discard the skins. Stir ¼ teaspoon salt into the tomato pulp and set aside. In a small bowl stir together the tahini and lemon juice. Then stir in 2 tablespoons water, adding more as necessary 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is a smooth, spreadable paste. Stir in the cumin, sumac, cardamom, cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside.
Heat the broiler. Spread the tahini mixture onto the entire surface of the cauliflower, then broil until deeply browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and cool for about 5 minutes. Spoon the tomato pulp over the top, drizzle with the chili-garlic oil and sprinkle with the parsley and pine nuts. Serve with lemon wedges.
Tip: Don’t bother opening the foil packet to test the cauliflower for doneness. It’s fine to insert the skewer through the foil. When making the garlic-chili oil, be careful not to overcook the garlic and pepper flakes or the flavors will turn acrid. When the mixture starts to sizzle gently, transfer it to a small bowl; if left in the skillet, the residual heat may cause scorching.