In short, quickly!
Steaming: First, you need to tie a bundle of asparagus spears together with kitchen string, just under the tips and also near the bottom, making sure the bottom ends are level. Place the bundle in a tall pot of 2 inches of boiling water, unless you have your very own asparagus steamer. Cover and steam for 5-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears. While the ends of the asparagus are being boiled, the tips are actually being steamed. The end result should be bright green, crisp yet tender spears.
Boiling: Lay the asparagus spears in a large skillet with about an inch of water. Boil for up to 5 minutes, depending on thickness of the spears.
Blanching: If you are using the asparagus in salads or for other cold dishes, plunging the boiled or steamed asparagus in cold or iced water as soon as they are done immediately stops the cooking process and helps preserve the color and crispness of the asparagus.
Microwaving: Lay asparagus in a microwave-safe baking dish, with tips towards the center. Add about a 1/4 cup of water; cover and microwave for 4-5 minutes.
Stir Frying: Cut spears diagonally into 1 1/2 inch to 2-inch pieces, and stir fry with a teaspoon of sesame or olive oil for 3 minutes.
Roasting: Place asparagus on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray and roast in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness of the spears. Or, instead of using cooking spray, drizzle a little olive oil over the asparagus before roasting.
Grilling: Place asparagus spears on a preheated (medium-high heat) grill sprayed with olive oil spray and cook for about 5-8 minutes until tender, turning occasionally.
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