Asparagus season is a short but bountiful. Because asparagus is one of the first "fruits" after the long winter months, this has become one of my most anticipated times of the year. I've found that it is really important to eat asparagus right after picking it to experience the best flavors [if you are getting it from the Farmer's Market, ask the farmer when it was picked]. A quick saute can bring out the best flavors of asparagus and keep the freshness in tack.
If you are picking directly from your garden, the snap-off method can save you from having to chop off the hard ends later. Simply take hold of the stalk near the ground and bend, allowing it to snap at it's own natural break. Some farmers at the market use this method as well and finding that farmer will save you money, especially if you are paying by the pound [no need to pay for the tough ends you won't be eating anyway]!
To saute, put 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a cast iron skillet and heat at medium - high until oil is hot [but not smoking]. Toss in asparagus, reducing heat to medium, and saute 3 - 5 minutes or until stalks are just soft on the outside and slightly browned. Turn off heat, sprinkle with garlic salt, and savor! Garlic and onion are also wonderful additions.
Note from Tina: This is so simple that it can be a quick snack [in place of those processed options] or add color to a meal as a side.