Asparagus can be served hot or cold. While it is not necessary to peel asparagus, you should cut off the fibrous base before cooking. Wash it under cold water to remove any sand or soil residues.
You can tie asparagus stalks in a bundle to steam them, as this will make it easier to remove the stalks once cooked. If you find you enjoy this unusual vegetable so much that you become a true aficiando, you might consider purchasing one of the special tall, narrow steamers available that allow asparagus to be cooked to perfection-the tips are steamed while the thick stalks are cooked thoroughly in the boiling water. Avoid cooking asparagus in iron pots as the tannins in the asparagus can react with the iron and cause the stalks to become discolored. If your recipe calls for cold asparagus, plunge the stalks into cold water immediately after cooking, then remove them quickly; letting them soak too long can cause them to become soggy.