This clever dish from chef David Chang makes double use of asparagus: first, it's used to make a delicate, sweet sauce, then the spears are sautéed and served in the sauce. Slideshow: More Asparagus Recipes
Peel 1 1/2 pounds of the asparagus; reserve the peelings. In a blender, combine the trimmings and peelings with the remaining 1/2 pound of unpeeled asparagus and 1/2 cup of water and puree until smooth. Strain the asparagus juice through a sieve into a medium bowl.
In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the peeled asparagus and season with salt. Cook over moderate heat until lightly golden on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the asparagus and add the butter and asparagus juice. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the asparagus are just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to a serving platter.
Whisk the maple syrup and sherry vinegar into the juice in the skillet and season with salt. Spoon the sauce over the asparagus, top with almonds and serve.