From Delia Smiths Vegetarian Collection. I add garlic to this so it is mentioned as an optional ingredient.
If you prefer you can pan roast the asparagus instead of steaming them.
Meant as a starter but can easily be served as a side dish.
Wash the asparagus in cold water, then take each stalk in both hands and bend and snap off the woody end.
Arrange the asparagus stalks in a steamer and steam over simmering water for 5-6 minutes, or until they feel tender when tested with a skewer, being careful not to overcook them.
While the asparagus is cooking, heat 1 oz (25 g) of the butter in a frying pan, as soon as it is frothy, stir in the breadcrumbs, and garlic if using, and cook them, stirring constantly, until they're evenly browned and crispy.
Then tip the crumbs on to a plate, stir in the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.
Now put the pan back on to the heat and add the remaining butter.
As soon as it is frothy, add the cooked asparagus and toss to coat them in the butter.
Sprinkle with the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Divide the asparagus between warmed serving plates and sprinkle with the crumbs, serve immediately.