My method of preparing asparagus was a hit-and-miss situation. I even purchased a special asparagus pot to stand the stalks upright and boil them in an inch of water.
On our second date, Michael prepared dinner for us aboard Sequitur and I was impressed. Dry-seared filet mignon with Bearnaise sauce, a crimini mushroom-shallot-cream sauce over Gnocchi with a side plate of perfect asparagus topped with a swirl of mayonnaise. This was accompanied with a bottle of wine from Sequitur's cellars. I decided to linger a bit longer.
i have been watching Michael prepare asparagus for five years now and would like to share his method.
Feel each asparagus by starting at the cut-off end and move up to where it gets tender then snap it off there. The snapped-off ends are the woody parts and can be used for asparagus soup later.
Use a shallow pot or pan, large enough to fit the asparagus in lengthwise, even a frying pan will work. Bring the water to a rolling boil, drop in the asparagus and reduce the heat to a bare simmer for exactly six minutes. Run cold water in the pot till it is just bearable to the touch. This stops the cooking process and will keep the asparagus warm until serving. Do not prepare it too far in advance.
My seldom-used stainless steel asparagus cooker has become a functioning wine cooler and on occasion a vase.