Who knew toast could be so delicious? Brushed with butter, dipped in sugar, and grilled, the bread (a nice enriched challah) becomes almost brûléed. The riper the bananas, the quicker they will soften during cooking; be mindful when handling.
Combine rum, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. (Be careful; rum will flame up when it comes to a boil.) When flames subside, stir with a whisk until syrupy. Remove from heat; stir in pepper and salt. Keep warm.
Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Coat bananas with cooking spray. Place on grill pan; grill 2 minutes on each side or until lightly charred.
Brush bread with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle granulated sugar onto a small plate. Dredge bread evenly in sugar. Place bread in pan; grill 15 seconds on each side or until lightly charred, being careful not to scorch. Serve bread with bananas and sauce.
Grilled Fig Toast: Use turbinado sugar in place of brown sugar and Saba* in place of rum; omit salt. Replace bananas with 6 fresh figs, halved. Arrange on a platter; drizzle with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt. (*Saba is a sweet-tart condiment made from grape must; you can substitute balsamic syrup.) SERVES 4 (serving size: 1 bread block, 3 fig halves, about 2 teaspoons sauce, 1/4 teaspoon oil, and dash of salt) CALORIES 288; FAT 11g (sat 5g); SODIUM 315mg