Preparation / Directions:
When shopping, look for smooth, round, tender, medium-sized green spears.
To Prepare: Break off tough ends where they snap easily. Wash asparagus; remove scales if sandy or tough. (If necessary, remove sand particles with vegetable brush.) For spears, tie whole stalks in bundles with string, or hold together with band of aluminum foil. Or cut each stalk into 1-inch pieces.
To Boil: Spears: Heat 1 inch water (salted, if desired) to boiling in deep, narrow pan. Place asparagus upright in pan. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Boil uncovered 5 minutes. Cover and boil 7 to 10 minutes longer or until stalk ends are crisp-tender; drain. Pieces: Heat 1 inch water (salted, if desired) to boiling. Add lower stalk pieces. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Boil uncovered 6 minutes. Add tips. Cover and boil 5 to 8 minutes longer or until crisp-tender; drain.To Steam: Place steamer basket in 1/2 inch water (water should not touch bottom of basket). Place asparagus (spears) in basket. Cover tightly and heat to boiling; reduce heat. Steam 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp-tende Microwave: Spears: Place asparagus and 1/4 cup water in square microwavable dish, 8 X 8 X 2 inches. Cover tightly and microwave on high 6 to 9 minutes, rotating dish 1/2 turn after 3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Let stand covered 1 minute; drain.
Pieces: Place asparagus and 1/4 cup water in 1-1/2-quart microwavable casserole. Cover tightly and microwave on high 6 to 9 minutes, stirring after 3 minutes, until crisp-ten Let stand covered 1 minute; drain..