I discovered this method of cooking asparagus quite some time ago and it has since become my preferred method of preparing them. By quickly blanching them and then plunging them into cold water, they develop a sweet and nutty flavor while remaining crisp, yet tender.
1 lbs asparagus
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil and fill a large bowl with cold water.
While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the asparagus. The root end of the asparagus is often woody, and it's sometimes hard to tell how much you need to cut off. Luckily, the asparagus will tell you where the woody part ends and where the tender part begins.
Hold on to the root end of the asparagus with one hand and hold on to the stem a little farther up with your other hand.
Gently bend the stalk, slowly moving towards the tip, until the stem snaps. The asparagus has to be fairly fresh for this to work, and you really have to be gentle, otherwise you'll be left with with some woodiness in the stem, which isn't all that pleasant to eat.
Mince the garlic.
When the water comes to a boil, add the asparagus. Once the asparagus changes color to a brighter green, remove them from the boiling water and put them into the bowl of cold water. Leave the asparagus in the cold water for a few minutes, and then arrange the asparagus on a plate.
Pour the boiling water out of the pot and return it to the heat, keeping the heat on high. Add the olive oil, garlic, walnuts, and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir constantly until the garlic just begins to brown. Scoop walnut mixture onto the asparagus.
Drizzle with lemon juice to taste.