The next best thing to asparagus with melted butter is asparagus with hollandaise. Here are two ways to make it; one quick and easy with the aid of a blender, the other a version that can be made ahead and reheated. Blender: 1/2 cup butter 4 egg yolks 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon salt Pinch cayenne

Heat the butter to boiling in a small saucepan but do not let it brown. Place the yolks, lemon juice, salt and cayenne in a blender. Cover container and flick motor off and on quickly. Remove cover, turn motor on and immediately add hot butter in steady stream. When all butter is added, turn off motor. If not served immediately, keep sauce warm by setting container into saucepan containing two inches of hot water. Reheatable: 1/2 cup butter 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice 3 egg yolks 4 tablespoons boiling water 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon paprika Few grains cayenne

Place the butter where it will melt slowly (on hot stove). Heat the lemon juice the same way. Have a small saucepan ready along with boiling water and measuring spoons. Use a thick bowl or crock that fits closely over bottom of double boiler which has one inch boiling water in the bottom.

Place yolks in the bowl; beat with whisk or egg beater until they begin to thicken. Add one tablespoon boiling water. Beat until thick. Repeat this process until four tablespoons of boiling water in all are added. Remove from stove. Beat well and constantly while adding melted butter slowly.Then beat in salt, paprika and cayenne.

This may be chilled and reheated over, but not in, hot water in same crock, beating constantly. Asparagus Stir-fried Serves four as part of a Chinese meal; two as part of American meal 1 pound asparagus 1/4 cup chicken, beef or vegetable stock 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional) 2 tablespoons oil 3 slices fresh ginger root, minced Salt to taste

Wash asparagus and break off though ends. Cut stalks diagonally into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces. Blanch the stalks if young and tender. If old, parboil them. If using just the tips no pre-cooking is needed.

Combined stock, soy sauce and sugar. Heat oil in wok or skillet. Add ginger root and stir-fry about thirty seconds. Add asparagus; reduce heat to prevent burning. Stir-fry to coat asparagus with oil and heat through. Add stock mixture and heat quickly. Simmer, covered, over medium heat two to three minutes. Season to taste. Serve immediately.

Variations: Use a minced garlic love in place of the ginger root. Garnish the asparagus with coarsely chopped walnuts. Asparagus Casserole Serves six to eight 1 1/2 cups sour cream 1 small onion, finely minced Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1/2 teaspoon (scant) dry mustard 1 clove garlic, minced 3 pounds cooked, drained asparagus 3 tablespoons butter, melted 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs

Combine sour cream, onion salt, pepper, mustard and garlic and mix well. Place asparagus in 1 1/2-quart casserole and spoon sour cream mixture over them. Combine melted butter with bread crumbs and spoon over-casserole. Bake at 375 degrees for about twenty minutes, until dish is heated through. Asparagus Plonaise Serves six 3 dozen medium asparagus 1/4 cup sweet butter 2 tablespoons soft bread crumbs 1 small hard-cooked egg, finely chopped 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook asparagus until crisp-tender. Meanwhile melt butter; when it foams stir in bread crumbs. Cook over low heat until mixture browns. Remove from heat and pour over cooked, drained asparagus. Season with salt and paper. Sprinkle with chopped egg and parsley and serve immediately. Piquant Asparagus Eight to ten servings 4 pounds cooked, drained asparagus 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar 4 tablespoons cider vinegar 3/4 cup salad oil 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish 1/8 teaspoon sugar 2 teaspoons chopped parsley 2 teaspoons chopped chives Pimiento strips for garnish, optional

While asparagus are cooking combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least overnight (or for as long as two days) turning occasionally. To serve, drain off marinade and decorate asparagus with a few strips of red pimiento, if desired.