Traditionally prepared by steaming, asparagus can also be boiled and/or baked. Buy firm asparagus spears that are completely closed at the bud end. Fat spears are just as tender as thin ones, if you peel them slightly. To peel, use a vegetable peeler and begin at the butt end, cutting more shallow as you near the tip end.
Fresh asparagus spears, peeled
1½ tsp salt per quart of water
In a skillet, boil water and add salt. Lay asparagus in boiling water. Cover the pan only until water is boiling again; immediately uncover it. Boil slowly for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Season as desired.