How to Cook Asparagus Pretty Close to Perfect
Asparagus doesn't have to be peeled, unless it's thicker than a pencil.
1. Boil ½ cup of water in a separate pan or tea kettle.
2. Place the spears in a skillet or saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Turn the heat on high.
3. Add the ½ cup of hot water to the asparagus pan, clamp the lid on tight, and cook it on high heat for 5 minutes.
4. After 5 minutes, drain the remaining water, turn the heat to medium, and return the pan to the stove.
Add a few fat pats of butter, and roll the spears of asparagus around to slightly sauté them in the melted butter.
5. Move the spears from the pan to a serving dish, and pour any remaining butter over the asparagus.
Salt and pepper the asparagus, and serve.
The asparagus will come out a vibrant green--not the olive color of overcooked spears. It won't be limp, and it won't be tough, either. A hollandaise or other white sauce can be poured over the spears, but asparagus cooked this way will taste great with a simple dusting of finely-minced parsley, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, or a dip into Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise.