Keep the asparagus in a rough bunch so the tips and ends are parallel. Place an inch of water in a saucepan or skillet that is at least 12 inches in diameter. Add the salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus, cover, and boil, rearranging occasionally, until almost tender, 4 to 5 minutes; drain. Arrange on a platter, drizzle with the oil, and season with salt and pepper.