If you're from the U.S., your everyday banana is the Cavendish. Visit any food market with international flair, though, and you'll likely find a broad array, from reds and manzano bananas to plantains to the Hua Moa banana, a unique chubby plantain-like banana that, when ripened fully, can be eaten raw (unlike plantains). The riper the bananas, the quicker they will soften during cooking, so be mindful when handling. Venture away from the familiar with this sweet and spiced quickie dessert, which earned rave reviews during testing.
Serves 4 (serving size: 1 banana, 1 piece of bread, and 3/4 tablespoon sauce)
Ready a grill or grill pan on medium-high heat.
Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter, and evenly brush on the sides of the bread "blocks."
Sprinkle the granulated sugar evenly on a small plate. Dredge the bread blocks evenly in the sugar. Set aside on a plate.
Combine 1 tablespoon of the butter, the brown sugar, the rum, the pepper, and the salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. (Be careful; the rum will flame up when it comes to a boil.) When flames subside, stir with a whisk until it is a uniform, syrupy sauce.
Spray the bananas lightly with cooking spray.
Grill the bananas, depending on level of ripeness, for 2 to 4 minutes on each side or until well marked, brushing evenly with the rum sauce all the while.
Carefully remove the bananas from the grill. Set aside on a platter.
Grill the bread blocks on all sides for about 20 seconds, or just long enough to mark them.
To serve, spoon some of the rum sauce on 4 plates, top each with a piece of grilled brioche, and spoon the bananas over the bread.