Take one asparagus spear and bend the bottom half of it until it naturally breaks. Discard the broken bottom piece. Align all of the spear tips. Cut the remaining spears at the same point where the first stalk was broken. Alternately all tough ends can be snapped off, as done with the first stalk.
With a vegetable peeler, peel all sides of the stalk end slightly less than halfway up the spear.
Place the asparagus spears and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a plate large enough to cover the bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, zest 1 lemon with a microplane. Set aside.
With hot pads, CAREFULLY remove the plate and bowl from the microwave. Continuing with hot pads, invert the plate and line it with paper towels. With tongs, place asparagus on the paper towel lined plate. Pat dry. Discard paper towels.
Drizzle asparagus with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Grind black pepper to taste.
Sprinkle the asparagus with lemon zest.
Optional: Garnish asparagus with thinly sliced lemon rounds.