Plunge asparagus into rapidly boiling water, then refresh in ice water to keep them crisp-tender and bright green.
Prepare 1 1/2 pounds medium-thick asparagus (see
Rinse and Snap). Have a large bowl of ice water ready. In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups water to a boil. Season with 2 tablespoons coarse salt, and add asparagus; boil until tender, 3 to 4 minutes (depending on thickness).
Remove with tongs, or drain in a colander, and immediately transfer to ice water for 1 minute to stop the cooking process. Drain; refrigerate until completely chilled.