First snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Then, holding at the tip, peel away scales and the thin outer skin. A plain old vegetable peeler works best, and one glide per cut will do. No point whittling away. Peeling goes faster than you think, especially if you buy fat asparagus.
To cook asparagus, immerse in boiling water and cook until tender when pierced, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain at once. Server hot or cold. To chill, immerse coked asparagus at once in ice water until cold. Allow about 1/2 pound asparagus for a serving.