This simple method of preparing asparagus requires no fuss and produces asparagus with excellent color and flavor.
1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Place 2 tablespoons of the butter in a 7x11-inch glass baking dish. Set the dish in the oven until the butter melts, then remove it, tilting to coat the bottom evenly.
2. Trim and peel the asparagus. Then rinse under cool turning water and place in the dish with whatever water clings to the stalks. Sprinkle on enough additional water so that you can see numerous droplets. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the degree of doneness you desire. At 30 minutes, the stalks will be bright green and crisp-tender; at 1 hour, they will be pale green and very tender.
3. Slide the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over the hot asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with wedges of lemon.