Whatever you do, do not buy that asparagus steamer. And don't bother peeling these spears, either. My hands-down favorite (and ZERO fuss) way to cook asparagus is to run it under the broiler for a few minutes. This is all you do:
Crispy Tips Asparagus
Turn the broiler on high. Take one lb. thin asparagus and trim the ends by snapping them where they naturally break. You'll usually get 1.5 or 2 inches off the bottom. Rinse them and pat dry. Mound on a baking sheet (avoid non-stick) and coat asparagus with about 2 ts. of olive oil and a good sprinkling of kosher salt. Gently mix with your hands, then spread the spears out in a single layer. Broil for 4-6 minutes, giving the pan a good shake once or twice until tips are crisping up (but not burnt!) and spears are tender. Pile on a plate and squeeze a big wedge of lemon over them, sprinkle with a bit more salt and a shake of crushed red peppers. (My kids won't eat asparagus, anyway, so I might as well spice it up. Sigh.)
I have been known to just eat asparagus for dinner when it's in season. I could eat it like popcorn. Boiled or steamed, though, it doesn't tempt me nearly as much. I do love it stir-fried or as a cold crudite, but I'll save those praises for another day.
P.S. Last night, we had this asparagus with the End-of-Winter lentils that I wrote about earlier this week. It was our fourth night eating them, and I'm happy they're gone.
P.S.S. My sister Naomi told me that she read these blog entries to my 3-year-old niece Hannah Mae as a bedtime story last night. They snuggled up with Naomi's Blackberry. That's a niece after my own heart!