The absolute best way to cook fresh asparagus is to steam it. You don't need any special equipment. You can use either a metal colander or a steamer basket (available at most supermarkets and of course, the local Dollar General Store) for your steamer utensil.
Try to get fresh, young stalks that are thin. Thick stems tend to be chewy and stringy. If you are purchasing asparagus that is banded in a bunch, check the middle and make sure there aren't big stems in the middle surrounded by small ones. In fact, if you have a nice relationship with the produce manager in your store, they may let you go back and hand select your stalks! Look for a light purple tint on the tops to make sure they are ripe. Otherwise, your asparagus may taste bitter.
Use a saucepan large enough to hold your "steamer utensil." Put in enough water to almost touch the bottom of the utensil. Add about 1 tsp. of salt to the water. Heat the water on high.
When the water starts boiling, add asparagus (up to 1/2 the utensil size) either whole or cut up into the size pieces you desire. Cover. Turn the water down to medium and steam for about 20 - 30 minutes, dependent upon the size of the stalks.
Steam until they have reached the desired tenderness. When the stalks start getting "limp" they are done. You may have to add a little hot water at some point if it boils out too quickly. Not to worry, this won't affect the flavor.
Hint: Overcooked asparagus tends to lose it's unique flavor.
Once done, season with your favorite seasoning and serve piping hot or chilled.
Chilled: I like to serve with mayonnaise or in a salad. Ranch dressing is good, but you lose the delicate flavor.
Hot: Melt REAL butter, drizzle over the top and serve hot. If you like spices, a touch of garlic salt is also tasty. Nothing else needed and it will melt in your mouth.