- 3 tablespoons pecan halves
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 thick (3/4- to 1-inch) slice rich white bread, such as brioche or challah, trimmed neatly into a round or square (crusts removed)
- 1/4 cup Japanese-style panko
- 2 tablespoons dried unsweetened coconut flakes (medium shred)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
- 1 banana, peeled and diagonally sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- Toast the pecans in a small, dry skillet over medium-high heat, shaking the pan frequently, until they start to turn dark brown and smell very fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately transfer them to a plate to cool.
- Whisk the egg, coconut milk, and vanilla extract together in a shallow bowl. Add the bread; let it stand for about 10 minutes, turning it over about halfway through, until it has absorbed most of the liquid.
- Combine the panko crumbs, coconut, and granulated sugar on a plate. Use a spatula to transfer the soaked bread to the crumb mixture, and turn to coat both sides evenly. Pat as much of the mixture as you can onto the bread.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-low heat in a small skillet. Add the bread and cook until it is golden brown and crusted, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn it over and cook another few minutes, until it is golden brown on the second side. (Reduce the temperature as needed to keep the bread from getting too dark.) Transfer to a plate. The inside of the French toast will be fairly spongy.
- Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of butter to the pan and let it melt. Add the brown sugar and stir until it melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the banana slices and stir until they are warmed through and coated with the butter in the pan, 1 minute. Add the pecans and rum, and stir to combine.
- Spoon the warmed banana mixture over the French toast, and eat.
Note: Some brands of coconut milk, such as Chaokoh from Thailand, are available in 5.6-ounce cans rather than the standard 13.5 to 14 ounces. Store coconut milk in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze in ice-cube trays and then store the cubes in freezer-safe heavy-duty plastic bags for several months.
Reprinted with permission from Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One by Joe Yonan copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.