I made Alton Brown's "Red Snapper in Papillote" last night, substituting the whole head-on fish (recipe calls for 2lb whole fish) for about 1.3 lbs of thawed fillets I got from trader joe's. Figuring that the edible flesh ratio would be the same on my fillets as it would be if I got the whole fish and stuffed it, I did not adjust the amount of remaining ingredients. The only difference was that instead of "stuffing" these fillets, I sandwiched the herbs, etc. between the two fillets and topped them with the remaining onions, lemon slices, etc. and followed the rest of the recipe as described, baking for 30 mins, etc.
Despite all the liquid (1/2 c wine), the fish came out of the oven dry and only very mildly flavored.
My question for you-- what would the difference have been if I had used the whole head-on fish? Would the skin have made it moister, added additional fat the the fish, etc.?
Any suggestions would be most appreciated!