A microwave yields steamed asparagus in mere minutes, which is especially helpful on busy evenings. Simply lay trimmed asparagus in a microwave-safe dish with a tablespoon or two of lightly salted water or broth, and cover. A pound of asparagus cooks to crisp-tender in about 4 or 5 minutes at high power.
To prep the asparagus for microwave cooking, snap off the woody end of each stalk, which usually measures an inch or two. Peel thick stalks to prevent them from becoming stringy when cooked. You don't need to peel pencil-thin stalks. Rinse the asparagus under cool water to remove any dirt. Keep the asparagus whole, rather than chopped, for cooking in the microwave.