1 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
16 spears asparagus
large, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
plus more to taste
  • stainless steel saucepan with lid
We grew up eating steamed asparagus with a side of mayo or a side of homemade thousand island (mayo + ketchup + Tabasco), but always wondered if there was a tastier and easier way to prepare asparagus. I found this in JP’s latest book and was surprised at how tasty the asparagus became through this quick and simple preparation. The true flavors of asparagus simply shine when cooked this way. Our one-year-old loves picking up the pieces to feed to herself.

Adapted from JP’s Asparagus Ragout recipe from Essential Pepin. JP does a similar delicious and fast treatment for broccoli on page 124 of his other book More Fast Food My Way.
Snap the bottom of each asparagus to find its natural breaking point. Trim the ends to make them even, then cut the asparagus to size.
Boil water and olive oil together in a stainless steel saucepan. Add asparagus and bring to a boil. Cover and boil for 2 1/2 minutes on high. There should be 2 to 3 tablespoons of water left behind; add water or reduce as needed.
If the liquid needs to be reduced by a lot, use a slotted spoon to transfer the asparagus into a bowl (we usually use the serving bowl), then reduce from there. This extra step prevents from overcooking the asparagus. Add the asparagus back into the pot once the cooking liquid has reduced to 2 to 3 tablespoons.
Add the butter and the salt and boil for about 1 minute. Stir 1 to 2 times. Taste and season with additional salt only if needed. Serve immediately.
source: adapted from Jacques Pepin's Essential Pepin and More Fast Food My Way