Using a potato peeler, thinly peel the lower three-quarters of each spear of asparagus, and trim off the woody end. Wash and set aside.
For the best ﬂavour, steam the asparagus in a tiered steamer for 6–8 minutes, or until tender, taking care not to overcook. Alternatively, tie the spears together in four bundles and cook them, standing on their cut ends, in gently boiling, lightly salted water for 5–10 minutes, or until just tender. Lift out carefully with tongs and drain for a few moments on paper towels. Arrange on a heated serving dish and keep warm.
Meanwhile, to prepare the lemon butter, melt the butter in a small saucepan, season with white pepper and stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Pour over the asparagus and serve immediately with crusty bread.
Simple and easy to make. I did not cook mine as long as the recipe stated because I had small asparagus and we like ours with a crisp bite. The lemon butter sauce was lighter than a hollandaise, but, the lemon gave it a bright flavor. I did just use a drizzle of the butter over the asparagus instead of pouring the entire amount. - 20 May 2013