Its great when a vegetable or fruit is in season, because they are usually both fresh and cheap. Its now asparagus season, so you can look forward to a few months of $1.99/lb fresh aspargus.
I prepare them by washing and snapping off the ends (they make a great addition to broth). Then I pan-fry them whole or cut them up and add them to a stir fry.
On their own, I will usually toss them with salt, pepper, olive oil, and fresh lemon juice. I use a lot of lemon so the flavor sticks, and pan fry them until they bend a little under their own weight if held by the end, but stop long before they go limp.
I had previously put up this stir fry, and recently made a similar one.
This time I used beef (hangar steak) sliced to similar dimensions as the asparagus and gave it a rub of salt, pepper, and szechuan pepper, skipping the soy sauce/cornstarch, and only adding the chili-garlic paste. With brown rice, its a fast, simple, efficient, healthy meal.